New Mercedes driver George Russell revealed that he did not want to win on his Mercedes debut at the 2020 Sakhir GP.
Russell filled in for the COVID-positive Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain two seasons ago. It was the first time he would strap himself to the Mercedes car, and fans were unanimous in their support for him to take the first win of his career.
Unfortunately, Mercedes completely bottled the race to cause the young Englishman major heartbreak on the day. Even though he tried his best, he couldn’t take the win he was the favourite for.
However, Russell revealed that he did not want to win on his Mercedes debut, saying that it wouldn’t have aided his growth as much as his loss had.
“I want to be the most complete driver possible and I want to look back in 20 years’ time and say, ‘That was an incredibly strong career. Every single outcome had a reason behind it and that made me a stronger driver’,” Russell told Crash.net, as quoted by Racingnews365.com.
“I believe that race in Bahrain, losing that victory, will make me a stronger driver. In a way, it would have been too much of a fairytale to have won and I probably wouldn’t have appreciated the achievement if that had happened.”
“It wasn’t just the Mercedes experience, but there were other experiences as well, and dealing with and bouncing back from disappointment is part of life and part of competitive sport,” he explained.
“I think people who have it easy throughout their career, throughout their life, when they do face these disappointments, they struggle to deal with it, and probably aren’t able to bounce back as quick. I’m glad it didn’t happen.
“And that’s why I’m grateful that I’ve been in this position on a number of occasions, to make me more resilient. I would have loved to have won that race (Sakhir 2020), but that’s not what I want my career to be remembered by.”