You have to feel for George Russell, after years driving for F1’s perennial back of the grid team, he joins Mercedes – 8 consecutive constructor’s titles – and 7 driver’s championship.
George joins the Brackley squad and in one short winter the super team has shriveled to a husk of its former Formula 1 glory.
At least Russell has the satisfaction of being 2nd in the driver championship and finishing ahead of Hamilton in 3 of the 4 races this year (inc Imola Sprint) – and in qualifying he is 2-2 with Lewis.
However, after the fourth race of the season, it appears George is starting to feel a little disillusioned. He complained that the sprint race was “too short” to allow him to really make up places from his starting position of P11.
Further, the British driver complained to Sky Sports F1 that the Sprint race was too “processional”. He clearly couldn’t see what the rest of us could as Carlos Sainz made the first pass of the race without even DRS enabled.
The DRS in the end was probably a little too strong, but Ross Brawn and the FIA had taken a chance on running a Sprint race in Imola; historically a difficult circuit for F1 overtaking.
Brawn explained to Ted Kravitz, he had wanted to run a Sprint race at the first European race to “remind everyone what it was all about and we knew we would get a great crowd on the Friday for qualifying.”
In response to George Russell’s complaints about the Sprint being ‘processional’, Brawn marked the young Brits card. He reflected, “Whenever my driver’s had a bad car he’s complained about the race, sSo I think George’s opinion or the opinion of anyone in the back of the grid is not the opinions that we really listen to.”
“The opinions we listen to are the guys who were really competitive, they’re racing in the middle or racing at the front. They’re ([Mercedes] in a very unfortunate position, but I don’t think their position in the back of the grid is really one that reflects the true position of racing.”
Brawn left Mercedes when Wolff and Lauda bought shares in his team and has recently stated his departure was primarily because he couldn’t trust Toto Wolff.
The “back of the grid” drivers opinion Brawn levelled at Russell was not out of spite but from experience. Ross reflects, “We had a Mercedes that couldn’t overtake the cars in front but there was plenty of overtaking going on in the middle and the front. So of course we’ll listen [to Geroge], we won’t ignore it, but I think you have to you have to keep a perspective on it.”
It looks like rising F1 star George Russell still has a lot to learn if he’s not to make the same PR mistakes as Hamilton. As a ‘back of the grid’ driver for Williams he should know better.
Clearly George is disappointed to have left Williams and joined as Brawn describes Mercedes, another “back of the grid team” for 2022.