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Russell: 'Max wouldn't have been the driver he is now either'

Russell: 'Max wouldn't have been the driver he is now either'

14-04-2023 20:30 Last update: 23:06


George Russell looks back on his time at Williams with a positive outlook, despite not being able to go for the win by any means during that time. In an interview with Square Mile, Russell reflects on his first years in Formula 1 and compares his own track record to that of Max Verstappen.

Russell and Verstappen have had similar career paths. Both drivers received support from a top team early on. Both were brought to Formula 1 at a young age. And both started at a lesser team as a stepping stone to the top team: Toro Rosso for Verstappen, Williams for Russell. The only difference is that Verstappen was promoted to Red Bull after only a season and a half, while Russell stayed at Williams for three years while waiting for a free spot at Mercedes.

Russell, however, chooses to learn the positive lessons from that period. "I look at those years now thinking, 'Yeah, perhaps I did learn more racing at the back compared to what some of my rivals may have done being thrown in the deep end from the beginning'. Some drivers have been thrown in at the deep end early and it’s hurt their careers. I’ve got to be grateful for the people who have advised me and helped me and nurtured me to this position. Ultimately, I’m happy with where I am right now."

Verstappen would also have had a tough time in the same situation, according to Russell

"For example, Max Verstappen obviously got his promotion after 18 months, but perhaps if he went into a team like Mercedes against Lewis Hamilton at the peak of his powers, it could have damaged his career. So you’ve got to look at it from both sides, and for sure Max was a greater driver after three or four years under his belt compared to where he was after 18 months under his belt. If you’re going up against a guy who’s absolutely in his prime and dominating in the car that he’s so used to, maybe he wouldn’t be in the position he is today."