George Russell admits that his dynamic with Lewis Hamilton may have differed had Mercedes had a more competitive car in 2022.
Russell stepped up to the Silver Arrows following a three-year stint with Williams, replacing Valtteri Bottas as Hamilton’s teammate.
While the team had previously dominated the sport in recent years – having won eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships between 2014 and 2021 – the 2022 campaign proved more challenging, with the W13 unable to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari’s challengers.
However, the struggles that Mercedes faced may had had a positive influence on the relationship between Russell and Hamilton.
Russell reflects on dynamic with Hamilton
“I think, for sure, the dynamic [between myself and Lewis] would have been slightly different had we arrived at the first race and had the fastest car on the grid,” Russell told The High Performance Podcast.
Russell believes, though, that the difficulties faced by Mercedes in recent times have brought the team together.
“There’s been a huge amount of late nights throughout this season,” he explained.
“[There has been] a lot of tension at times between drivers, teams, designers with regards to, are we on the right tracks? Do we need to be doing something different? Do we need to be more drastic?
“And these were very difficult conversations, but we come away from them growing closer together.
“We’ve got such great leadership within Mercedes that we are now all pushing in one direction. I truly believe this experience we’ve been through this year will lead to more long-term success.”
How ‘getting it wrong’ results in progress
Russell thinks that the most progress is often made during tough times, so he remains positive about what Mercedes have been able to achieve.
“I think, in terms of your progress, you need to lose to be able to win,” the Briton said.
“I think, this year, I’ve had some failure and a small amount of success.
“Mercedes, we’re here to win. They’ve won the championship for the last eight years. [Struggling to win has] not been where we’ve wanted to achieve.
“But we’ve been very consistent, we’ve achieved results, and we’ve been solid.
“But we’re not here to be solid, we are here to win. I think you need to put it all on the line sometimes to get it right, but equally, when you get it wrong, that’s where you progress the most, in my opinion.”