Russell explains what could put friendships with other drivers at risk

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George Russell feels there are “good vibes” between the younger generation of F1 drivers, but acknowledges that there is a reason why they have been able to maintain such friendliness.

Russell arrived into F1 in 2019 along with Lando Norris and Alex Albon, and there has long been a sense of camaraderie amongst them, as well as with others including Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

The relationship between them all is good, says Russell, but he admits that this does not change the fact that they are fierce rivals when the visor comes down.

“There’s definitely a good vibe,” Russell told the Beyond The Grid podcast.

“I think there’s a lot of sort of illusions that we’re all best mates and all of that. We’re obviously mates, no doubt, and we always talk with each other whenever we see each other.

“Obviously, when the helmet goes on, we’re fierce competitors.”

What could put F1 friendships at risk?

Russell acknowledges that the fact that there have not been many on-track incidents between the drivers has perhaps enabled their friendships to stay intact.

As such, any run-in while racing could potentially put a strain on things.

“We’ve had no reason, for the time being, not to be friendly with one another,” Russell said.

“We are rivals on track. But the things that cause these greater rivalries are, generally speaking, on-track incidents.

“And for whatever reason, none of us have had any disagreements or on-track incidents over the years.

“I know Charles and Max [Verstappen] maybe had a few in karting when they were battling.”

F1 drivers share “mutual respect”, says Russell

Despite the chances of an incident on the track, Russell believes that there will remain a level respect between the drivers.

“There’s only 20 of us in Formula 1,” the Mercedes driver added.

“I think we all have a sort of mutual respect for one another, because only we understand what the others are going through.

“And because we’ve sort of come through the ranks together over so many years, it feels like you’re kind of like schoolmates, as such.”

While Russell does not feel that knowing other drivers changes the way he races them, he admits that he can spot certain patterns in their style.

“I wouldn’t say it affects how you race them, but there’s definitely trends, I would say, from all these drivers, and how they go about their race weekends has been quite a consistent theme throughout their careers,” he explained.

“Which is also quite intriguing in itself to see, so I think we all know each other pretty well.”



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