George Russell attended the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Friday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: George, thanks for waiting. So, you’ve said that you expect to be closer to the front runners this weekend. Can you just explain why?
George RUSSELL: I don’t remember saying that, to be honest! No, I think there’s no secret, we obviously brought some big changes to the car in Barcelona and it kind of changed our whole philosophy a little bit and where the strengths of our car were and the weaknesses were. And obviously, Monaco is a very unique race weekend altogether. So I think this will be slightly more in line with the performance we saw in Barcelona.
Q: Now, clearly, the team has made great progress with the car. If you took it back to Bahrain now. How much faster would it be?
GR: Hopefully it would be faster. But I think I don’t think it’s necessarily much faster at the moment but it’s given us a direction where we think we can get a lot more out of it, whereas the car we had in Bahrain, that was sort of its maximum potential, and we couldn’t really improve it from there on in. Sometimes you got to take a small step back to take three steps forward. And I think we’re in that transitional process at the moment. And I think it’ll be a few more races before we started to see us hopefully fighting with the Ferrari and Red Bull.
Q: So if that requires a few more races, are you hoping for a little bit of a typically chaotic race here in Baku?
GR: Yeah, I think, yes, it’s definitely welcome in our position, I don’t think it’s going to be straightforward. I think we’d love to be straight on the pace here but I think we’ll be in our usual position, just sort of behind the front two, and probably just ahead of the midfield group. There’s some really fast guys out there in the low speed corners and that could throw up a bit of a surprise. But hopefully, come Sunday we’ll be able to recover that. And yeah, let’s see. It’s definitely welcome. As long as we’re on the right side of it, it’s all good.
Q: Now, you said recently that prior to the start of the season you expected to have won a race by this point in the year. Do you take any satisfaction from the fact that you’re the only driver to have scored points in every race so far?
GR: Yeah, definitely. You got to look at the positives. And you’ve got to look at things rationally. And we can’t be disappointed that we haven’t won a race this season with the package we’ve had. And we’re in this development phase and I think it’s been pretty well optimised. As a team, I think we’ve done a great job to maximise the points available to us. So you’ve got to take that as a positive and try and continue this momentum forward. And hopefully when we have a faster car, we’ll be in good shape to fight for those victories.
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QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) A question to George. Just to follow up on the question earlier, you talked about how you’re working with a team, but could you please isolate your own performances? Coming into the season maybe there was an expectation of wins. That hasn’t happened, so you’ve maybe just been slightly out of the headlines, but turning in some really good performances from what it looks like. So how do you how do you evaluate your own job?
GR: Yeah, I think it’s been not a bad start to the season, personally. I think there’s definitely room to improve in certain areas. And I think, obviously, I’m in a really privileged position, being teammates with Lewis and learning so much from him, how he works, how he goes about his business with his engineers, how he gets the whole team motivated. It’s quite inspiring to see. Also, on the technical side he’s pretty impressive, which a lot of people probably wouldn’t really recognise or appreciate. So, yeah, definitely room to improve. But I think in terms of results, it’s been fine. And yeah, I don’t think we could have probably achieved much higher results when I look at the season rationally. I think probably other than Bahrain, we probably finished as high as we could in every single race.
Q: (Aaron Deckers – Racing News 365) George, you mentioned before that in the next races somewhere you expect to go on and be battling with Red Bull and Ferrari. Can you explain more which part of the car you’re going to improve, where you’re going to get the advantage back, let’s say on the Red Bull and Ferrari?
GR: As I said, from Barcelona it was effectively a completely new car for us. So we have basically done two races this season with this iteration of car – one of which was Monaco, where we took little or no learning, because it’s such a unique race track. And we think we can now start to build from this foundation. So mainly the aero side of things, making sure we don’t go into any of the porpoising issues we faced earlier, but just bringing more performance to the car, which we have confidence we can achieve. But ultimately, it’s always relative. We don’t know what Red Bull and Ferrari have in the pocket. So, as I said before, if we bring half a second and they bring half a second, we’re in the same boat.
Q: (Claire Cottingham – Racefans.net) Question for George, but if anyone else fancies chipping in feel free. Rotating the Race Directors, do you think it’s been working so far, since the beginning of the season? I know there’s been talk of maybe even adding a third, I just wondered, if consistency-wise, you think it’s working?
GR; Personally, I think it’s too early to judge. Obviously, the two Race Directors are new to the role and with any new role you need time to settle in. And obviously it has been shared. So you know, we’re seven races in, I think it’s five and two races each, I don’t know exactly now. I think we need to have this open dialogue between the drivers and the Race Directors, the team managers and the Race Directors. We’re obviously the only 20 drivers within the race cars, who have a feeling of what the race tracks are like, what needs to be done to improve the safety, to improve the racing and whatever. And we need to have this open relationship to push the sport forward in all directions. So I think it will take a few more races. But hopefully we’ll all be on the same page sooner than later.