George Russell says ‘nobody will remember’ him beating Lewis Hamilton

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George Russell has played down finishing higher in the standings than Lewis Hamilton in 2022 and insisted nobody will remember him outperforming his Mercedes teammate. In his first season with the team, Russell’s consistency saw him finish on the podium eight times, most notably at the penultimate Grand Prix in Brazil where he notched his maiden F1 victory.

He finished fourth overall in the drivers’ standings on 275 points – two places and 25 points clear of his more esteemed partner. Having struggled with the issue of porpoising for much of the campaign, Hamilton failed to register a race win in a season for the first time in his career.

But neither driver came close to matching the pace set by Red Bull and eventual world champion Max Verstappen. The Dutchman dominated the campaign, winning 15 of the 22 races and helping his team end Mercedes’ run of eight straight Constructors’ titles.

Hamilton has notoriously had difficult relationships with teammates who have competed closely with him, most notably Nico Rosberg. Russell however, has dismissed any notion of tension between the two, insisting his victory in Sao Paulo far outweighed his placing in the standings.

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“For me, this victory in Brazil was more important than the points classification,” Russell told Auto Motor und Sport. “At the end of the day, nobody remembers that I beat Lewis on points. I only finished fourth, so no-man’s land.”

But Russell also insisted he wasn’t satisfied with his inaugural year at Mercedes, with the Silver Arrows having much higher expectations: “If someone had offered me a win, a pole position and eight podiums a year ago, I would have said: No, thanks,” he added. “My ambition and that of the team are much higher than what we have achieved.”

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Team Principal Toto Wolff has sounded caution to both his drivers though, warning that they have a considerable gap to breach to seriously challenge for the title: “For the new year we have to be realistic about our expectations,” he said.

“If our performance is at the level we hope they will be we could be part of the fight at the top. I think that would be a good starting point, but let’s not take it for granted, because it can also happen that we have a gap like we had at the end of last season.”

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