George Russell attended the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix Thursday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: George, thanks for waiting coming to you up. Can we get your reaction first of all to Sebastien Vettel retirement?
George RUSSELL: Such an inspiration and such a humble bloke I think. As Carlos said, nobody’s got a bad word to say about Seb. He’s good fun to be around. So I’m sure he’s going to be looking forward to, firstly the last half of the season, but everything he’s got planned for the future: family, kids wife and I’m sure he’s not going to stop and… as I said, inspiration.
Q: And George, we saw a great result for you and Mercedes at Paul Ricard. Do you believe that you’re now close enough to the front runners to win a race if everything falls for you?
GR: We’re definitely closing that gap, there’s no doubt, but the four cars ahead of us certainly have the pace advantage. There’s no doubts about that. But I think, as a team, we’re slowly closing the gap. Hopefully after the summer break, we’ll add some extra things to the car, but as does everybody, so it’s not going to be straightforward. We still believe we can probably fight for victories at some point this season. But I don’t think we’ll probably ever have the car that will be outright quickest.
QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Matt Kew – Autosport) A question to George. We’ve heard about Vettel as driver – but could you talk about what you’ll miss working with him as a fellow GPDA director?
GR: I think we all know the intellect that Sebastian has, and sharing quite a few meetings with him, behind the scenes, talking with the FIA or F1, or whoever it may be, you do learn how much general knowledge he has; how much Formula 1 knowledge he has. And I’m sure that also goes into the technical side. So, I think it is kind of quite inspiring to see how he conducts himself and his business. And you know, above all, he’s just a great bloke, a great human being. And I think in the world today, we lack a lot of people like Seb, so yeah, for sure he’ll be missed.
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Q: (Vándor Éva – HVG) George, it’s good to see you back in Hungary and it was good to see that photo of you from 2009, I guess, with Lewis alongside with your podium shot from last week. How do you feel? What do you think when you look at those pictures?
GR: It’s a pleasant reminder, I think to all of us, that time is flying. And I remember that day like yesterday, you know, meeting Lewis, he was a superhero to me back then. And as I said, that was 13 years ago now but it felt like yesterday and you need to seize every opportunity, every moment every day, every race for us and just make the most of that one life you have – because it goes quick. So a photograph like that is a reminder for me.
Q: (Barna Zsoldos – Nemzeti Sport) Do you remember when was the first time you came to Hungary, as a kid or as a junior driver? And what are your best memories from Hungary on and off the track?
GR: Yeah, I think one of my best memories here was driving an F1 car for the first time back in 2017. And I just remember, just feeling the forces that an F1 car produced. I couldn’t quite comprehend the speed coming from GP3 at the time. It was incredibly hot, almost 40°C, and my eyes were totally bloodshot, I think it was from the forces, sweating 24/7. And that was just a real taste of what it was to, to drive an F1 car and again, gave me the motivation to say this is what I want to do always. And obviously, as the other two say, we’re here to fight for victory every weekend. So nothing changed there.
Q: (Andrea Tajthi – MotorsportMania.hu) A question for all the drivers if you could change only one rule in Formula 1, which would it be?
GR: It’s so difficult. You can’t pinpoint one thing. It’s, you know, as Lance and Max said, lighter cars would be great, but you can’t have everything in the world. The reason we’re heavier is because of safety. So yeah, I don’t know. I really can’t pick one, because there’s too many compromises. Faster cars.
Carlos SAINZ: I was thinking all this time while they were answering and I couldn’t come up with something interesting or something that is possible. I have a lot of ideas but they are all quite impossible…
Q: Give us one.
CS: I would like to try a race where we all have the same grip available in our cars, just to try, just to see. Sam speed and same grip available.
GR: An F1 car has enough downforce to drive upside down, so who can drive the slowest, I guess, upside down before falling off?
CS: You can try that. The weight, but you would have to think about the safety. The penalty points, they’re all good ideas. But are they possible? Probably not.
Q: (Edd Straw – The Race) There was a bit of talk earlier this year about the dangers of ingesting brake dust. Just wondering if any of you ever had any symptoms from that kind of thing? Any concerns about it? Or is it not really something that’s crossed your mind?
GR: I’ve had no issue. I know a lot of people have, but again, like Max said, we’ve got different design philosophies, so I think it’s down to the FIA not to give teams a possibility to do something that has an effect of drivers health and safety.
Q: (Niharika Ghorpade – Sportskeeda) Sebastian leaves a huge legacy behind on track and off track if there’s one thing you had to take out from his legacy, what would it be?
GR: Pretty impressed with the beard he’s got going at the moment. I struggle a bit to grow a beard. As I said, I think, you know, we’re all competitive animals, we all want to win, we all want to win as many championships as possible, but as I said, nobody’s got a bad word to say about Seb in the paddock and I think that’s probably a legacy you’d probably be quite… He’s probably more proud of that than he is of his of his on track successes.