George Russell attended the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: George, if we could start with you, please. How was the party on the flight here? Was Carlos Sainz as generous as he promised to be?
George RUSSELL: No, he wasn’t to be honest! No, I think there were quite a lot of us on that flight. There was Carlos, myself, Charles, Pierre, Kevin, Fernando, Esteban, Lewis… You’ve all missed out!
Daniel RICCIARDO: I had to go on the simulator!
GR: I think because there were so many emotions on Sunday night, and, you know, speaking with all of you guys afterwards, and then the celebrations with the team, everyone was in a bit of a rush to get to the airport. The flight didn’t take off until 3am and I was just absolutely knackered. So celebrations…
Max VERSTAPPEN: You slept the whole flight?
GR: Not all of it not.
MV: Charles said you slept the whole flight!
GR: I slept quite a long time. It was a tough race! No, celebrations have been put on hold until this Sunday. I’ve got some of my family out here this weekend. So yeah, Sunday night this week.
Q: Just one final question on the win: you’ve now had a few days for the victory to sink in, so just what sort of an impact has becoming a race winner in Formula 1 had on you.
GR: Not too sure, to be honest, I think, you know, obviously, just very proud of the achievement. It’s something I’ve worked my whole life towards and what you dream of as a child. And you know, my years in Formula 1 , you dream of that moment. You go into every race sort of believing you can achieve it, but sometimes recognising very early on in a weekend that it’s not going to be probably possible that weekend. But the stars just seemed to align that weekend. And the race on Sunday was perfect. And coming away with maximum points, yeah, it was pretty special.
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Q: Do you arrive here in Abu Dhabi somehow a different driver?
GR: No, I don’t think so. To be honest, I always believed I could achieve victories and you believe you can become a world champion. For sure confidence is high and the morale within the team is booming. But you know, I don’t suddenly feel transformed overnight. I still feel the same driver as I was this time one week ago.
Q: So morale is booming. What chance a repeat here in Abu Dhabi, another win?
GR: Yeah, I think we’ll be going for it. To be honest, I think since Austin the car’s been performing really well and probably better than we could have ever hoped for. For sure, Max and Red Bull are going to be fast here. I think the combination of the low-speed corners and the long straights, they are going to suit their car really, really well. But, you know, we saw even in Brazil, on a circuit that we didn’t expect to be quite as competitive, we were still very quick. So yeah, we’ll be going for it.
Q: Alright. Good luck with that. Thank you. Daniel, if we could come to you. How did winning your first race in Montreal change you as a driver? Did it in some way give you more confidence?
DR: I notice George’s head is a little bigger. I think, as George kind of touched on, it’s something you truly believe you can do and obviously achieve, but until you do, you just don’t know. Was that a tongue twister?
GR: Yeah, a lot of do’s in there.
DR: A lot of do’s. No don’ts. But it’s, yeah, we’ve won in junior categories. So it’s like, we know how to win, but doing it at that level and, let’s say, on the main stage… Until you cross that line and get that feeling and like, confirm it all to yourself, you just don’t know. I looked at George, obviously on the weekend, and it reminded me of those emotions from the first win and I could obviously relate to what he’s gone through and you can’t not be happy for someone, you know, it’s one of the best days of your life. It’s a game changer. So pretty special.