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Russell's Reflective Return to Melbourne F1 2019

Russell’s Reflective Return to Melbourne F1 2019

19/03/2024

Revisiting the Melbourne track, George Russell reflects on his F1 journey since 2019, from a hopeful debut with Williams to his current aspirations with Mercedes.

George Russell returns this weekend to Melbourne, where his Formula 1 career began in 2019. The Mercedes F1 driver, who was with Williams at the time, recalls a unique weekend and the realization that he would no longer be at the forefront as in the promotional formulas.

“It was a very special moment,” Russell shares. “My entire family was on the starting grid with me, and I was about to race against many people I had admired. I enjoyed the fact that I had achieved a lifelong dream, of course, but I realized that I was now at the back of the grid, not at the front.”

When asked about what struck him the most at the start, he reveals that it was the normality of his promotion: “I knew I could learn at my own pace. I could make mistakes without being in the spotlight. I could simply find the positive aspects of each situation and make the most of the year.”

“I only realized afterwards, but I felt like in any other race. When I was in that car and wearing the helmet, I felt exactly the same as when I was karting, in F4, F3, or Formula 2. The goal hasn’t changed. To drive as fast as possible.”

“We are very fortunate” to be in F1

When reflecting on the advice he would give to himself back then, he touches on the positive aspect of the profession: “Cherish every moment. Appreciate the journey. In Formula 1, everyone is a competitive beast and when things don’t go as you wish, it can bring you down.”

“You have to remember how fortunate we are to do what we do. We do what we love and we all live an extraordinary life. If things go wrong, it’s not the time to rest, but you have to remember that there are far worse things to do in the world.”

According to him, one of the recipes for success is knowing how to rely on important people in a career. In his case, he talks about the people who managed his career at Mercedes, but also his loved ones.

“It’s very important to surround yourself with the right people. People you trust and who have your best interests at heart. Gwen [Lagrue] and Toto [Wolff] have played a significant role in this adventure, supporting me throughout the journey.”

“My girlfriend and my family have also been there. These people understand you. They understand the sport and can support you at the right time and in the right way. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, with highs and lows, whether you win or lose.”

“I just want to have maximized my potential”

Looking back on his career, he marks a moment in 2021 with Williams as his best moment: “I always think back to the qualifying for Spa in 2021. I had signed the contract to join Mercedes the week before.”

“So I knew I had the full support of everyone, including Toto and the board. Qualifying on the front row in a car that had finished last in the previous three seasons gave me more adrenaline than I had ever experienced in my life.”

When Mercedes asks him where he sees himself in five years, he doesn’t give a specific goal but rather a motto: “I just want to have maximized my potential and know that I have left nothing behind.”

“I’ve given it my all and have no regrets about how I trained, how I worked for my team, and the commitment I showed. All I can do is give my best.”

And while he doesn’t set a goal for his career, he makes a promise to his current team: “I don’t know how many victories we will achieve in this time frame. If that means we win five world championships, that’s perfect.”

“If it means we’ve won 10 races when we should have won only eight, I’ll also be satisfied. Everything is relative. I’m 26 years old and I think I have at least 15 more years in F1. I’m going to give everything to win with Mercedes. That’s my goal.”

Russell’s Reflective Return to Melbourne F1 2019. Russell’s Reflective Return to Melbourne F1 2019

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