Mercedes’ George Russell has described his maiden Grand Prix victory in F1 at 2022 Sao Paulo GP as an “amazing” achievement.
Since arriving on the F1 stage in 2019 on loan at Williams from Mercedes, Russell has had to wait 81 races before he finally stood on the top step of a podium following a dominant drive in Interlagos from lights to flag in his first proper season for the Silver Arrows after an one-off drive in 2020 Sakhir GP.
Reflecting on his first F1 win in his fourth season in the category post-race, Russell commented: “What an amazing feeling. A huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible.”
Russell though did find himself having to fend off his teammate and compatriot – Lewis Hamilton, who he coincidentally replaced in 2020 Sakhir GP, following a second Safety Car period after one of his closest mates pluss fellow Brit – Lando Norris stopped on track with a technical issue.
2022 also hasn’t ran smoothly for Mercedes which led Russell to exclaim that the season and race felt like “an emotional rollercoaster”, although he “felt in control,” despite the “super-fast” pace of Hamilton which placed his younger teammate “under so much pressure.”
Russell also spoke of his emotions on his in-lap as he described his racing memories as “flooding back,” from his family and girlfriend to his personal team and manager, plus James Vowles and Toto Wolff for giving him a chance at Mercedes.
Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin echoed Russell’s sentiments as he praised the 24 year-old for driving “a perfect race”, as he vowed that this won’t be Russell’s only Grand Prix win in F1, which capped a great weekend after Russell won the Sprint Race on Saturday.
Hamilton meanwhile finished second despite briefly dropping down to eighth following a Lap 7 collision with Max Verstappen at Turn 2, which Shovlin described as “a fantastic recovery” after fearing that the seven-time champion was out of contention for a podium finish.
Despite finishing second, Hamilton described Russell’s performance as “an amazing job” to hold off his more experienced teammate for a win which he “truly deserves” on pure ability.
Shovlin eventually concluded that this tough season reminds everyone of the importance of the “special” feeling of victory, having struggled to believe even one victory would of been possible given their early season woes.