George Russell attended the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix Friday Drivers’ Press Conference. Here is the full transcript!
Q: George, coming to you. Thanks for waiting. Tremendous race by you on Sunday. Has Mercedes now found a path in terms of development with this car?
George RUSSELL: Yeah, I think so. I think we’ve definitely turned a corner. And I think our season starts from Barcelona, really. The first five races were problem-solving as such, and I think we’ve solved the problem now we can now focus on development. So we are six races behind. Red Bull I think are the main ones who didn’t seem to have any porpoising issues from day one and they seem to just seemed to get cracking with their development. But I think we’re excited. Because we think we’ve got performance in there that we can unlock again, but it’s pleasing to see we now have a stable race car that we can build upon.
Q: What’s the mood in the camp has a has a sense of optimism returned?
GR: I think there was always optimism, I don’t think the morale was ever lost, because we always believed that we’d be able to find this performance sooner rather than later. And we knew we wasn’t going to be able to achieve it overnight. But I think being able to solve this issue in the space of five races is still incredibly impressive. And, you know, from previous experience, I know just how tough it is sometimes to overcome some inherent difficulties within the car. So six races in we can get cracking now. I think that’s pretty inspiring and really thankful to everybody back at Brackley and Brixworth who have been working relentlessly to find the solutions and as I said, it all starts now.
Q: We all enjoyed your battle with Max Verstappen in the race and you said afterwards that you first raced each other in karting back in 2011. How different does it feel to go wheel-to-wheel with a rival in Formula 1 compared to karting? Same old tricks?
GR: I think all of the youngsters know each other pretty well. We know the style we have, how aggressive each one is and how they like to race, how they like to drive. Equally, I think there’s even more respect as well because we’ve known each other for longer and we’ve battled each other for longer so yeah, definitely enjoyed it.
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QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR
Q: (Alex Kalinauckas – Autosport) Question to George, please. We saw you have been in the Mercedes simulator ahead of this weekend’s and I wondered, what can we expect with how the 2022 cars are going to perform around Monaco? They’re designed to be better in high-speed corners and they tend to be worse in slow-speed corners, which pretty much all we have around here. So how will it feel different for you as drivers? And how might it look different to people watching from outside?
GR: Well, it still felt incredibly exhilarating, you know, my heart was pumping, just from the simulator. Probably pumping faster than it is compared to some of the racetracks in the race car itself, comparing to Monaco in the simulator, to put it into perspective of how brutal this circuit is. Clearly, these new cars don’t… A circuit like Monaco doesn’t bring out the best of these new cars because they are heavier, it’s a bit of a slog around these low-speed corners. So you may see a greater variation compared to what we’ve seen in previous years. But to the outside view, I don’t think it’ll be any different.
Q: (Luke Smith – Autosport) Another question for you, George, about Alex Albon. I know when you left Williams at the end of last year, you were pushing quite hard for him to get that seat. What have you made of Alex’s start to the season? It seems to have been a really strong start from him?
GR: Yeah, Alex has done an exceptional job. I think there was obviously no secret he had a tough time that Red Bull, but I think all of us, even probably Max included, just knew how talented Alex was. And, you know, we’ve, as I said, we’ve all raced each other since 2011. Alex, was a few years older than us. So he was sort of competing against de Vries at the time, in KF one, I remember and he’s always been there, you know. He’s always been one of the very best, so it’s no surprise to me, and I think happy to see that he’s back in Formula 1, and that he has cemented his position.
Q: Nicky, can I throw this to you? Similarities between Alex and George?
GR: Not the hair!
Nicholas LATIFI: Similarities? I think it goes without saying they’re both very, extremely quick drivers. And I mean, especially when Alex was announced as the race driver that was going to be my teammate, I had no illusions that he was he was not going to be on the pace straight away, despite him missing out a year. Obviously, I raced against him in 2018, or I raced as his teammate in 2018, and I know just how quick he was. So I think in many ways, the similarities, there are obviously some little differences in driving style here and there, which I kind of knew going into the season as well, just from, again, having been teammates with Alex beforehand. I won’t say the driving style secrets because maybe they don’t want to disclose that. But it’s been great having both them as teammates.
Q: (Mathias Brunner – Speedweek). For George. With stiffer cars this year, does that mean you have to tackle certain corners here in a different fashion?
GR: I think potentially you need to maybe in FP1 leave even more margin compared to normal because the cars are very stiff. We are very low to the ground and it is bumpy around here, so I think you can be caught off guard pretty quickly. We always knew that was going to be one of the challenges with these 2022 cars so low to the ground. We’ve seen it with Mick’s crash in Jeddah for example: uou run a bit wide onto the kerb and you bottom out and you’re off. So yeah, there’s been obviously a lot of positives brought with these new regulations but there have been some negatives as well.
Q: (Carlo Platella – Formulapassion.it) George, any idea on why Lewis was able to express a better race pace in Spain than you?
GR: Yeah, I think what Lewis achieved on Sunday was incredibly impressive. And probably the first time we’ve all seen this season his true pace come alive and unleashed. So, you know, I think nobody was probably surprised by that. And we all know what Lewis is capable of, but I struggled a lot with cooling issues from probably lap five onwards in the race and subsequently got the tyres out of the window from probably doing too much management to cool the engine, cool the brakes, cool the tyres. And it was a bit of a survival race. So I think it gives us optimism as a team when we saw Lewis in the position he was, just going for it and seeing what was possible.
Q: (Seitanidis Panagiottis – Car Magazine Greece) A question for George. You have a great start to the season even though the car is not performing at its best yet. How satisfied are you on a personal note with what you have achieved so far and the performance you had so far?
GR: I think if you told me prior to the season that we’d be seven races in and I wouldn’t have a victory to my name, I would have definitely been a bit disappointed with that. But I think given the pace of the car and given where we’ve been as a team, I’ve been reasonably pleased with how I’ve performed. I think the results have been maximised. I don’t see many races where we could have achieved better results. But definitely got room to improve. You are constantly striving for more when you understand the car more, the tyres more. And you know, I want to fight for this championship. And when we’ve got to go against the likes of Max at Red Bull and obviously Charles is doing an extra extremely good job at the moment with Ferrari. But as a team, we just need to keep on pushing, I need to keep on pushing personally. So, more to come.