Grand prix

‘There’s no tension between us’ – George Russell opens up on relationship with Lewis Hamilton | F1

Russell is set to be just the third teammate to out-score Hamilton across a season in F1.

The other two occasions it has happened was in 2011 alongside Jenson Button at McLaren and in 2016, the year Nico Rosberg won the title.

Russell also ended Mercedes’ win drought at Interlagos last time out as the team scored their first 1-2 finish since Imola 2020.

Given Mercedes’ lack of relative competitiveness in 2022, the pair haven’t fought each other for regular race wins or the drivers’ championship.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Russell opened up about the state of his relationship with the seven-time champion.

“It’s been great that the two of us have built a good relationship together and we’ve been pushing the team in the same direction,” Russell explained. “There’s never been any tension between us. We know that we both want to beat one another. 

“We are not interested in fighting for P5, P6. Weekends like last weekend are what we both go racing for and the 2000 people who work for Mercedes F1 team, what they go racing for as well. 

“The motivation is so high within the whole factory, within the race team, between the two of us that I think the winter is going to be super exciting for everybody. I guess I can’t wait to get to that first test to see how our W14 is going to look like.”

No change despite first win

Russell was quick to dismiss any questions that he’s a changed man following his maiden grand prix victory.

“I don’t think so, to be honest,” Russell added. “I always believed I could achieve victories, and you believe you can become a world champion.

“For sure, confidence is high and the morale within the team is booming. But I don’t suddenly feel transformed overnight. I still feel [like] the same driver as I was this time one week ago.”

Assessing Mercedes’ chances of back-to-back wins, he said: “We’ll be going for it. I think since [the updates in] Austin the car has been performing really, really well, and probably better than we could have ever hoped for.

“For sure, Max [Verstappen] and Red Bull are going to be fast here. I think the combination of the low-speed corners and the long straights are going to suit their car really, really well. But we saw even in Brazil on a circuit that we didn’t expect to be quite as competitive [at], we were still very quick.”

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