George Russell at the 2023 Singapore GP Thursday Press Conference

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

George Russell attended the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!

Q: Good luck this weekend. And congratulations again on the new deal. George, can we come to you? Just before we came on air, you were telling us about a Padel competition last night. It’s getting pretty competitive among the drivers. Who were you with? 

George RUSSELL: Yeah, it’s getting very competitive and bumping into a few familiar faces. We reached out to the Padel, the local Padel court here, to see if we could get some courts after hours. The first night we did it was totally fine. The second night they said it’s sold out after hours and when I arrived there I had Lance playing on the court next to me, then there was Lando and I playing and then on the other court was Pierre and Antonio Giovinazzi. So Lando and I had a good battle. Three-two in sets to team Russell, so I was happy with that one.

Q: Good day at the office. And of course you’ve been busy since we last saw you at Monza. You took in the Rugby World Cup as well. What was that experience like?

GR: Yeah, it was great to see the opening game of the rugby. It’s a sport I follow a lot. I’ve always been to the Six Nations in the UK. I would have loved to have seen England play but didn’t get the chance to do that. But I was there with Ineos, watching the All Blacks and France go head-to-head and I was sat next to Richie McCaw. So that was a good experience, obviously a rugby legend, and hearing his views on the game and getting to know him.

Q: Alright, well, let’s bring it onto this weekend. Zhou mentioned the changes to the track. What are your thoughts on what’s been done since last year?

GR: I think it’s going to make the race a bit more exciting. I think Singapore is a really great circuit to drive, but it’s a little bit challenging to race on. And historically, it’s only really been Turn 5, which has been an overtaking opportunity, whereas now I hope maybe into the new Turn 16 there’ll be another chance. It’ll make it slightly easier physically for us, because it was obviously the longest race of the season in terms of time duration. So I think the track will probably be nine seconds or so quicker this year. So a bit shorter on Sunday. But as I said less fun in quali, should be better for the race.

Q: What about the race? It was a difficult one for Mercedes last year. And if you look back through the history books, it’s a race where the team’s fortunes have fluctuated quite a lot. So what can we expect from you this weekend?

GR: Last year, we had a really fast car and unfortunately we didn’t make the most of it during the weekend. But I think it’s so close at the moment between ourselves Ferrari and McLaren, Aston Martin are fluctuating in performance. Hopefully, we can close the gap slightly on Red Bull here, on the high downforce circuit. So I think it is that battle for P2 on the road. But you’re going to have to nail every single detail because it’s going to be by the smallest of margins.

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Q: (Jake Boxall – Legge, Autosport) George, obviously Mercedes has made quite a bit of progress with this year’s car. I guess the attention now is very much on getting towards next year. Are you satisfied with the lessons that you’ve learned from this year’s car? And what was your feedback in developing what you want for next year? 

GR: Yeah, I think we’ve made some good gains this season. In all honesty, there’ll be a few more little things to come towards the end of the season, which will aid our learning into next season. I think it’s clear that we made some mistakes ahead of the 2022 season, and again over this winter, but I’m definitely confident that these mistakes are going to aid us and help us a lot for the future. And, you know, you need those setbacks, and you need those errors to set you on the right path. And I think, as a team, we’re incredibly motivated to get back to the top. And as I said, I think the lessons we’ve learned over these two years, will only help us in the years to come.

Q: George, while we’re talking contracts, it’s the first time we’ve had you in the FIA press Conference since you were announced for two more years at Mercedes. Can we get your thoughts, two weeks on, about how you feel about that? But also, why two years?

GR: I don’t know why two years, to be honest. No, I think that was mutual between us both. And this is a long-term partnership between the two of us and we want to continue building on what we’ve built over the last couple of years, the lessons we’ve learned. And yeah, from my side, it was sort of never really in doubt and a bit of a formality really. When I signed, two years ago now, this was always the plan to be together, and hopefully, you know, try to keep this relationship as Lewis has done with the team and obviously, I could only dream of success like they have achieved together.

Q: George, what about you, just comparing this track with other hot ones?

GR: Yeah, I think this is definitely the toughest one of the year. And, as Kevin said, I think a big factor is because you’re constantly turning. It’ll be made easier this year with the layout change. But also, being on a street circuit, you get no airflow from doing the highest speeds like you would do in Spa or Monza: you get a lot of cool airflow when you’re doing 300km/h-plus in the straight. So, that’s another factor. But it’s enjoyable. It’s enjoyable to have such a challenge, and you never want things to be straightforward, week-in, week-out.


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