Russell took ‘Some Time to understand’ the High Level Mercedes Works at in Early 2022

George Russell admitted he felt like a rookie at times during his first season with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, with the Briton taking time to adapt to his new team.

Russell joined Mercedes in place of the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN bound Valtteri Bottas after three years with Williams Racing having spent that time primarily towards the back of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship field in underdeveloped cars.

It was a different story at Mercedes, a team familiar to racing at the front of the field and a team that had taken the previous eight consecutive World Constructors’ Championships.  And joining a front-running team meant Russell was forced to adapt and understand things he had not encountered before at Williams.

“In some regards, I almost feel like a bit of a rookie this season because the level at which this team works – we’re talking about things that I’ve never even spoken about before in Formula 1 before,” Russell is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.

“So, that’s taken me some time to understand – what the team’s processes are during a race weekend, how I can make the car faster in terms of set-up, and that’s why I’ve felt a bit of a rookie at the start of this season.”

Russell says he has also learned a lot by being team-mates to seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton, and he sees his countryman as his ‘benchmark’ within the sport. 

However, despite beating him in the Drivers’ Championship and taking his maiden Formula 1 victory in 2022, he knows he will have to defeat Hamilton consistently if he wants to be World Champion himself in the future.

“For sure, being team-mates with Lewis is such an amazing position to be in because he’s obviously the greatest driver of all time and there’s a huge amount I’ve learned from him in the sense of… probably more off-track, to be honest, with how he conducts himself with the engineers and goes about his business,” Russell added.

“But, equally, small details on-track that have been really impressive for me to see.  But if you want to be a Formula 1 world champion, you’ve got to beat the best and you’ve got to beat everyone. And what a position I’m in to have Lewis as my benchmark.”