In 2022, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were faced with a troubled car, which was unable to challenge for the championship, or race wins.
The first part of the season was especially difficult as the drivers’ main goal was to gather as much information as possible about the car.
Numerous members of the team said that, as a senior driver, Lewis was the one who sacrificed his performance the most to be able to gather the data that Mercedes’ engineers needed. In that time, George managed to finish ahead of Lewis most of the time.
In the second half of the season, Lewis mostly produced better results than George, but ultimately George still managed to finish the season ahead.
Thus the young Briton became only the third team-mate to beat Lewis Hamilton over a season. After the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, George explained what this means to him.
“I feel incredibly fortunate to be with a team such as Mercedes and teammates with Lewis,” Russell said.
“He’s really pushed me to my limits as a driver. I’ve learned a huge amount going up against somebody like him in the same car. There is no better reference.
“If you told me that at the start of the season [I’d finish ahead], I would have been incredibly proud and incredibly happy with that, because nine times out of 10 if you finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton, you’re probably going to be World Champion.
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“We’ve all had our own difficulties. I’ve no doubt that he’s going to be probably back to his normal level next year.
“I think he had a very difficult start to the season when things weren’t really going smoothly for him, and they were probably going a bit smoother for me.
“That kind of swung around a little bit [in] the second half of the season, but looking back on the season as a whole, it probably balanced itself out.”
Russell also managed to score Mercedes’ only win of the season at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, which was also his first Formula 1 win. However, he is not getting carried away by this result.
“We are proud of what we achieved [in Brazil], but I’m here to try and become Formula 1 World Champion, and we’ve got a long road ahead of us.
“For sure, it’s good to to get it off your back, but you’re only as good as your last race and the last race was here in Abu Dhabi. We finished fifth [in the race] and fourth in the championship.
“We’re going to look back with a lot of pride on the season but, equally, knowing there’s a lot to improve if we want to fight with Max [Verstappen],” the Briton concluded.