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  • Reese Mautone

Mercedes’ George Russell has earned himself the title of Mr Consistency this season. Here’s how.

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

George Russell has shifted from formerly holding the title of Mr Saturday to now Mr Consistency as his record of top 5 finishes extends yet again after the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ahead of Russell’s home Grand Prix, take a look back at how the young Englishman has achieved all 10 of his impressive results in a season which has seen Mercedes seemingly miss the developmental mark with their 2022 challenger.

Round 1: P4 - Bahrain Grand Prix

George Russell began his 2022 campaign on a strong note considering Mercedes’ issues with the W13, earning himself P4 behind his teammate, Lewis Hamilton in P3. At a track Russell had previously commandeered the Mercedes in 2020, the Mercedes pair were able to capitalise on Red Bull’s double DNF.

The Briton qualified P9 after problems with overworked tyres in his costly Q3 out-lap were only compounded by the addition of Mercedes’ porpoising issues.

A strong opening lap and first stint saw Russell gain important places back and left him trailing his teammate for the remainder of the race as the duo inherited 2 places from their 2021 rivals’ reliability issues.

“To be honest we probably didn’t get the balance quite right but that isn’t the main limitation as well, we’ve got this overarching issue with the bouncing and I think to come away with a P3 and a P4 for the team is extraordinary,” Russell said in his post-race interviews with F1 Media.

Round 2: P5 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit proved a bittersweet weekend for Mercedes. George Russell’s garage experienced a race that saw the W13’s capabilities fully exhausted, resulting in P5, compared to Lewis Hamilton’s nightmare weekend that kicked off with the 7-time World Champion’s Q1 elimination in Qualifying, the first time such an occurrence has happened since Brazil, 2017.

Russell drove a quiet race, differing from the majority of the grid. The Englishman momentarily battled with Magnussen before coming home confidently in the lead of the midfield pack.

“P5 was the maximum today. We would have loved to have had more but the car actually felt really nice to drive,” Russell said post-race with F1 Media. “We know what we are lacking and that’s downforce, but I think we got the car in a really nice window this race.”

Similarly to the opening round, downforce seemed to be Mercedes’ greatest weakness in Jeddah, an issue that has continued to impact the W13’s ability to run close to the ground further into the season.

Round 3: P3 - Australian Grand Prix

Melbourne provided the young Briton with his first podium with Mercedes, crossing the finish line in P3 behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. The trophy wasn’t the only achievement George Russell took home from Melbourne, he also temporarily earned himself P2 in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

Aided by safety cars and derivative impromptu pit strategies, Russell found himself ahead of his teammate despite qualifying in P6 behind Hamilton.

“This weekend [we were] the fifth-fastest team behind these guys [Red Bull and Ferrari] and McLaren and Alpine, and currently standing P3 on the podium, and P2 in the championship, is pretty crazy,” he said post-race with F1 Media.

Though both Mercedes were lacking in pace, reliability and strategy again proved to be their strong suits and enabled them to capitalise on Max Verstappen’s DNF in the later stages of the Australian Grand Prix and various safety cars.

Following his first podium with the team, high praises came from Russell’s teammate.

“He did an amazing job today, had great pace, he's been so solid these first three races. He's working and really grafting away; he's doing an amazing job.”

Round 4: P4 - Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

P4 in Imola was another satisfying result for Russell, maximising on points in a weekend that saw his teammate miss out in P13.

The weekend’s sprint format hadn’t favoured the Mercedes duo, with Russell qualifying 11th in both Friday’s qualifying session and Saturday’s sprint race, however, Sunday’s race saw Russell’s flying start boost him up to P6. Following a battle with Kevin Magnussen, and an inherited place from an overly ambitious corner entry from Charles Leclerc resulting in the Ferrari driver spinning out, Russell crossed the line in P4.

Same drivers and similar wet-day conditions led to 2021 flashbacks raising heart rates as Russell defended against Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo’s driver who previously held Russell’s Mercedes seat when the two collided dramatically last year at Imola.

Russell said that he was “really pleased with the result” as “P4 was massively out of reach after qualifying [and] after the Sprint”.

“A good result again,” he said in his post-race interviews with F1 Media.

Round 5: P5 - Miami Grand Prix

Mercedes’ outright pace in Miami’s opening practice sessions shocked not only fans, but the Mercedes garage as well when Russell recorded a time good enough for P2 in FP1 and later topped the timing sheets in FP2 with their Miami upgrades package.

“We don’t really understand it to be honest, why we sort of hit the ground running,” Russell said in his interviews after Friday’s practice sessions with F1 Media, alike with Lewis Hamilton who also downplayed their results.

However, qualifying results didn’t live up to the Silver Arrows’ expectations with the Englishman starting P12.

Mercedes' seamless strategy and Russell’s impressive drive allowed for him to claim P5 at the chequered flag after falling to P15 on the opening lap, and finish above his teammate in a “brutal” race that tested every driver to their physical limits due to the intense heat and porpoising the inaugural Miami Grand Prix provided.

On the result, Russell said he had “mixed feelings”.

“Obviously based on where we were [in qualifying], today was a good result. But if you told me after Friday that we would finish P5 and P6 and that far behind P1, I would have been pretty disappointed,” he said post-Miami GP interviews with F1 Media.

Round 6: P3 - Spanish Grand Prix

The Spanish Grand Prix highlighted George Russell’s skill more than ever this season as he battled hard with the faster-paced Red Bull of Max Verstappen for several laps after leading the race.

“I feel like we’re making progress and I feel like we, as a team, have turned a page and I feel like this is probably the start of our season,” Russell said after the Spanish GP in an interview with F1 Media.

Verstappen battled DRS issues when his rear wing failed to open down the main straight on multiple occasions while fighting Russell, aiding the Mercedes driver in briefly maintaining the race lead, however, Russell’s race too was not free of issues as he dealt with an overheating engine.

Third in the Spanish Grand Prix and his second podium of the season earned Russell 15.7% of fans’ Driver of The Day votes, with the title going to his teammate for his strong recovery after first lap contact with Magnussen sent him tumbling down the grid.

Round 7: P5 - Monaco Grand Prix

After a chaotic start to the Monaco Grand Prix, namely the lack of a start due to weather and technical delays, the Mercedes driver’s race was less eventful in a positive way.

Russell secured himself P5 through a tyre strategy that saw the Briton hold off on a swap to Intermediates, instead opting for Mediums as the racing line continued to dry.

The tight margin at the pit exit saw the Mercedes successfully undercut Mclaren’s Lando Norris who was emerging on cold tyres. This created an opportunity for Russell to get ahead of his fellow countryman by leaving the dry line; a risky move on the wet, unforgiving Monaco track.

“It was physical out there,” Russell said post-race with F1 Media, “it was very bumpy, which we knew was our limitation this weekend. But P5, we’ll take the points and try and come back stronger next time.”

Round 8: P3 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Despite the Silver Arrows’ pace being “a little bit quicker than [Mercedes] anticipated'' at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Mercedes were almost certainly out of podium contention based on raw pace alone, however, the Baku ‘expect the unexpected’ spectacle lived up to previous years as Russell was able to score his third podium of the season.

Inheriting two places from Ferrari’s double DNF and after battling with intense porpoising down the 2.2km main straight of the Baku City Circuit, Russell crossed the finish line in P3.

“We didn’t get the podium on pure pace today but we did it because the team have worked very hard to deliver a reliable car,” Russell said post-Azerbaijan GP with F1 Media. “As a team, we take that as a positive and kudos to everyone at Brackley and Brixworth on all the hard work.”

Round 9: P4 - Canadian Grand Prix

Though Russell’s gamble in qualifying at the Canadian GrandPrix cost him a final run at improving his time only good enough for P8, the Briton managed to maximise the most out of his car on the Sunday, coming home in P4 behind his teammate in P3.

Russell had both Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez behind him, however, both failed to pose a threat to his P4. To do so, Russell was helped by Mercedes’ improved race pace which was able to match both the times of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz who finished P1 and P2 respectively.

“As a team we couldn’t have scored a better result,” Russell said in the Media Pen post-race, “we definitely had faith we would have been able to finish ahead of the Haas and the Alpines, it was just Leclerc and Checo that we were a bit concerned about.”

Russell was pleased that their race pace in Montreal “was closer to Ferrari and Red Bull than [Mercedes had] seen all season,” acknowledging that Mercedes’ weaknesses are their performance issues that the top two teams haven’t had to navigate.

Teammates: Russell and Hamilton

Compared to his teammate across the whole season, Russell has out-qualified the 7-time World Champion 5 times and finished above him in 7 out of the 9 races in 2022. Both are impressive stats for the new arrival at Mercedes.

Russell said he is in “a really privileged position being teammates with Lewis and learning so much from him – how he works, how he goes about his business with his engineers, how he gets sort of the whole team motivated – it's quite inspiring to see.”

The team thrives through their collaborative and supportive nature, the way in which both drivers are willing to experiment with new modifications and upgrades highlights how the culture within Mercedes is one that strives selflessly for success.

In an interview with Sky Sports F1, Russell referred to Hamilton as the “captain” at Mercedes.

“The partnership between the two and how they work with one another epitomises the overall spirit of the team,” Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff said on Hamilton and Russell this season so far.

Previous British Grand Prix Outings:

Last year’s British Grand Prix saw Russell outperform his Williams, getting the car into Q3 for the first time consecutively since 2017.

In the Sprint Weekend format, he qualified P8 to start the Sprint race, however, an incident with Sainz during the Sprint resulted in Russell being handed a 3-place grid penalty. He started the Grand Prix in twelfth and maintained that position to the end of the race.

In 2020, Russell finished his home race in P12, and in 2019 he finished in P14.

George Russell is the only driver this season to have scored in every race, finished every racing lap and to have improved on his qualifying position in each race this year. Heading into his first home Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit this weekend in a top team, Russell has his eyes on the top step of the podium.

Fast corners favour the Silver Arrows who have won the British Grand Prix multiple times, including last year after much controversy, and upgrade packages alike will aid the team in achieving the hopes of their first win this season.



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