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Russell: Recent races had been mentally challenging

Russell: Recent races had been mentally challenging

Russell: Recent races had been mentally challenging
George Russell admitted recent races, coming to the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix which he took his first career win, have been mentally challenging for him.

George Russell joined Mercedes at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, and naturally was hoping to be fighting for wins immediately given the team’s history and recent dominance of the sport.

But he had to face the ugly truth, that Mercedes’ 2022 F1 car, the W13 was not up to the high standards the eight-time Constructors’ Champions have set since the start of the turbo-hybrid era in 2014.

However, Russell had an impressive start to his career at Mercedes, and fared well against teammate, seven-time F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton, but revealed he was struggling recently.

But he was faultless in Sao Paulo, qualifying third despite a crash in Q3, winning the Sprint Race on Saturday, and then taking a commanding win in Sunday’s grand prix.

“It was incredibly emotional,” Russell told Sky Sports F1 of his first F1 victory. “It has been such a journey my whole family have been on since the beginning.

“Then since getting into Formula One, through Williams, the struggles, the highs, the lows there. Then joining Mercedes and the struggles we had at the start of the season.

“The recent races for me personally had been challenging and mentally, I had a reset going into Mexico,” the Briton revealed. “To get through that race and having Lewis there for the last 12 laps. I just knew how fast he was.”

Russell insisted his win was on merit and the result of all the hard work he and the team have put in. He added: “This is a victory to be taken and I am so happy to cross that line and I am so proud of the whole team and the work we have done this season.

Difficult to keep performing with a teammate as Hamilton

“When you do have Lewis as your teammate, it is difficult to keep performing every single session because he is always on it.

“I feel so fortunate to be alongside him and I am learning so much and he is really, really pushing me,” Russell said, praising his teammate.

In Mercedes’ team report, Russell reflected: “What an amazing feeling. A huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, this season, this race.

“I felt in control, Lewis was super-fast and then when I saw the safety car, I thought this is going to be a difficult end. He put me under so much pressure. But I’m so happy to come away with the victory,” he explained.

“On the in-lap, all of these memories came flooding back, starting off with my Mum and Dad in go Karting, going through and all the support I’ve had from the rest of my family, my girlfriend, my trainer, my manager,” the 24-year-old added.

“The likes of Gwen Lagrue, who first gave me the opportunity to get on the programme with Mercedes, and James Vowles and Toto. I can’t thank everyone enough,” he concluded.