George Russell: This is how Hamilton’s new colleague ticks



In 2022 he will reach for the stars at Mercedes!

With George Russell (23), the record world champion has chosen his crown prince. BILD am SONNTAG met the British guy with the noticeably thick eyelashes between two training sessions: Who are you actually, Mr. Russell?

The young Briton casually leans against the truck of his still racing team, Williams. His gestures – open and inviting. His blue-green eyes – crystal clear. While the BamS reporters talk to him, a TV team buzzes around him. It is clear: he is the man of the hour.

George William Russell was born on February 15, 1998 in King’s Lynn, not far from the North Sea. He started school at the age of five, but the interest did not last long: at the age of eight he discovered karting through his big brother Benjy. It became a real family business with father Steve and mother Alison who own a large farm.

Russell: “My father would often work early in the morning and come home late. But as soon as he got home on Friday evening, we jumped into the car and went karting. My mother always came with me. She had a notepad in which she wrote down all of our setups: times, tire pressure, engine … “

Even back then in the Wisbech Grammar School, his talent was unmistakable: For a design technology task, the students were asked to design a car to see what range a battery could achieve. What interested Russell was how fast the car could go.

In 2022 he will now drive one of the fastest Formula 1 cars of all time.

He has always had big dreams: “When I was young, I believed I could achieve anything – including flying to the moon.”

Still, he didn’t lose his grip on the ground, he says: “When I was around 15 I realized that life wasn’t that easy and that it would be incredibly difficult to get into Formula One. There are only 20 drivers. In order for me to get in there, a great driver has to go. That I understood that early on helped me. “

He left home early and lived alone near the factory. He cooked himself, as he does today. Preferably rice and vegetables with fish or chicken, with olive oil.

Russell phrased it precisely and carefully in clear British English. His gaze – always focused. It seems as if he has mastered a special art: hitting a very fine line. Outside the cockpit between self-confidence and arrogance. In the cockpit he goes to the limit, never beyond it. His motto: “The worst that could happen would be for someone to say no.”

The Powerpoint presentation with which he introduced himself for the Mercedes Junior Program is legendary.

Russell: “I emailed Toto (Mercedes team boss Wolff; d. Ed.) In December 2014, quite late in the evening, that I had sent him my résumé and that I would like to meet with him. The worst that could have happened is that he doesn’t write back. But only 15 minutes later he replied: ‘Let’s make an appointment.’ “

His direct, almost fearless manner also brought him to Williams in Formula 1: “I went to the hospitality area and asked to meet Claire (Williams, then team boss; the editor). This mentality has helped me a lot on my way. My parents always said you had to work hard for your dreams. You only get back from life what you give. Formula 1 is so far away, you have to reach for the stars. If you don’t always give 120 percent, you have no chance. “

He gave 120 percent – and more!

Russell: “I still have that attitude. Signing the Mercedes contract was one of the greatest moments in my life. But it is only one step. The really hard work is yet to come. To drive for a team like Mercedes and alongside Lewis Hamilton – if I thought it was easy, I would be foolish. I am happy, but I also know that things are only really getting started now. It’s going to be the greatest challenge I’ve ever faced. “

In 2022 he will drive alongside a seven-time – up to then perhaps eight-time – world champion and will be seated in one of the most powerful Formula 1 cars. Wherever he always wanted to go. He will pass on 120 percent – and that will also be necessary in order to be able to keep up at the top.

In the defeated Williams, the height of fall was never great. That will change next year. Nevertheless, he wants to continue to the top.

Russell: “I know what it took to get here. Getting into Formula 1 is not the end. My goal is to become world champion. ”

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