George Russell attended the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: George, coming to you, we saw on Instagram that you tried a lot of watersports during the break. How many did you master?
George RUSSELL: None. It was good to sort of branch out and do some of these things. Historically, I’ve never really wanted to do any additional sports, especially in the season, in case of injury. But I felt like I wanted to try something new and keep my senses alive. Try a bit of foiling, a few injuries along the way but I’ve fully recovered now and looking forward to the weekend.
Q: Few injuries along the way?
GR: Yeah, when you fall off a foil board and you land on the…
Max VERSTAPPEN: Ego!
GR: Yeah! There’s a lot of videos I didn’t post of falling off big time so, no, I really enjoyed it to be honest. I think for a lot of us when you’re so focused throughout the year just to have two full weeks doing nothing, you get a bit bored after a bit of time so to have a bit of an activity, it was quite fulfilling to make some progress and not fall off by the last days.
Q: Is it true that you bumped into Daniel at some point in the break?
GR: I’m so fortunate! No, it was good, it was good. We both knew we were going to the same place. Bumped into Logan as well. So yeah, it was..
MV: Was it at the salad bar?
GR: Daniel was very well behaved. I was pretty impressed. I think Daniel had done his partying for six months prior, so no, it was a good week.
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Q: Now let’s look at the rest of the season, George. Ten races to go. What are your goals?
GR: I think we want to just keep on progressing, I think, as a team. We’re in a good position in the Constructors’ Championship, P2. We’ve made progress. We’re in the fight with Aston Martin. McLaren are obviously looking pretty strong but we want to keep on improving. We obviously would love to win a race this year, but Max and Red Bull are really, really strong but I think the goal for us now is to seal that P2 in the Constructors.
Q: You finished second here at Zandvoort last year from P6 on the grid. Do you expect the car to be as competitive this year?
GR: I see no reason why not. I think these type of circuits, high downforce circuits, we tend to go well. Budapest, we were fast. Here, it was probably one of our most competitive circuits along with obviously Brazil. But we don’t know what the weekend is going to bring. The weather, again, looks very up and down but I think it doesn’t matter the conditions, I feel that we can have a strong weekend.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Daniel Moxon – The Daily Mirror) George, you mentioned earlier about winning a race this season is going to be tough and I think it’s fair to say that few would bet against Max and Red Bull going into any given race weekend but if the opportunity were to present itself, let’s say some misfortune befell them, do you feel like you and Mercedes are in prime position to be able to take advantage of that?
GR: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like as a team, we’ve gone strength to strength this season and obviously there’s a lot of expectations upon us going into this season and perhaps why people are calling our season a bit of a failure and of course, it’s far from where we wanted to be, because we want to be fighting for championships but to call P2 in the championship, 50 points ahead of P3 at the moment, a failure is far from reality. We know we’ve got a lot to improve. We’ve made really good progress and I think going into this second half of the season, we can be there to hopefully pick up any pieces that fall our way. But we just never know. I think last year we had the mentality that Singapore would probably be our only opportunity in the second half to win a race and when we didn’t win in Singapore, it was a bitter disappointment and there was no expectation going into Brazil and we came away with the victory there. So we treat every race as an opportunity.
Q: So just to be clear, do you feel Mercedes has the second fastest car now?
GR: As Fernando said, it’s really close between us, Aston Martin and well… four teams, Ferrari and McLaren at the moment. I think we’re probably the ones that are consistently there fighting between the second and third fastest team. But the team have done a really great job to maximise the points and as I said, delivering week in week out so I’m not going to sit here and say we are the second fastest team. I’m not too sure but I think we’re in a really strong position to secure that P2.
Q: (Joost Smedema – NOS) We’ve had dry sunny races so far at Zandvoort, the forecast is very different this weekend. Max, what do you expect this track to be like in the wet?
MV: Slippery! I mean, I don’t know. Bit of new tarmac, when it’s wet it’s a bit more slippery than in the dry but you adjust to it, so it’s a bit different to the last few years but we were probably a bit spoilt the last two years with the weather around this time, more or less. At the end of the day, it’s the same for everyone.
Q: George, racing here in the wet?
GR: Yeah, same as Max: it’ll be slippery in parts. Probably a bit of a challenge but the same for everyone and I’m kind of used to it now! Every since race…
MV: Since Baku! Every race weekend we’ve had some sort of rain.
GR: Maybe we need to start developing the cars for the wet instead of the dry moving forwards, who knows. That’s a joke, by the way!