Mercedes chief explains how Russell handled ‘big step’


Mercedes strategy chief James Vowles has detailed how George Russell met the targets the team set for him following his promotion from Williams.

A Mercedes young driver, Russell was placed at Williams from 2019-2021, until boss Toto Wolff decided to promote him for 2022 to the senior team to partner Lewis Hamilton.

In a trying session for the eight-time champions, the main highlight was Russell claiming a maiden Grand Prix win in Brazil as he finished fourth in the standings, two places higher than Hamilton who recorded his worst ever result with sixth.

Despite this, Vowles has explained how exactly 2018 Formula 2 champion Russell impressed the team.

Mercedes praise Russell’s achievements

“George did a very good job this year, he is against the best in the world and that’s your reference,” Vowles explained in a Mercedes season debrief video.

“What is very clear is that at the beginning of the year when we had a car that was difficult, Lewis was using his wealth of experience to help us in order to improve the car and really move us forward.

“In that period, George was just really focussed on learning, embedding himself into the team and he scored a number of results really that benefitted him as a result of that.

“Irrespective of his qualifying pace, his race pace was very, very strong throughout the year.

“That’s really what we were looking for: ‘How does he fit into our environment? How does he fit into the team? How does he work with Lewis? How does he work with everyone else?’

“In all of those he did an incredibly good job, it was a big step up for him from Williams.

“I think where Williams operated is obviously a very high level, but where we operate is a little bit different to that.

“He adapted very quickly and very well.”

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