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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

George Russell fires "ready to fight" warning at Lewis Hamilton and F1 title rivals

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George Russell declared he is “ready to fight” for the Formula 1 championship this year after a successful first season as a Mercedes driver.

There were always high expectations of the Brit, after his impressive displays with Williams. The lack of competitiveness of his cars during his first three years in F1 limited his points-scoring opportunities, but still he managed some excellent results including a shock podium at the rain-soaked 2021 Belgian Grand Prix.

Even up against Lewis Hamilton last year, Russell shined. Mercedes were not able to give their drivers a car capable of winning the title, but they both did well to extract as many points as they could out of the W13, and it was the younger Brit who finished higher in the standings.

The challenge in 2023 is to do it again and hopefully, from his perspective, to challenge for the title. On the prospect of doing so, he told GPFans : “I definitely feel ready to fight for world championships.

“I don’t look back on any races with regret because ultimately, we did an incredibly good job just to be able to fight for these positions. The fact is victory was always a little bit out of sight because we just [didn’t] have the performance.”

Russell and Hamilton got along well last year as they were forced to knuckle down and work together to score as many points as they could with the machinery they had. But questions remain over whether their relationship will remain strong if embroiled in a title fight.

Russell won his first F1 race in 2022, and wants to add to that total this year
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Andre Penner/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Last October, Hamilton admitted there might be tension in such circumstances. The seven-time world champion said: “If he finishes ahead of me in the world championship this year, I won’t mind. We’re going for fifth and sixth places. It would be a different story if it was a matter of first and second place.”

Russell was more cautious, but also admitted things could be different : “I mean, if you are fighting for one-twos there will be a slightly different dynamic and that’s only natural. But I think the thing we have going for us is the fact that we are at very different stages of our career.

“It kind of feels like we are in this together, really. If we’ve got a car that’s capable of one-two finishes, we will have a huge amount of pride in thinking we have contributed together in helping the team achieve this. And then we go about our business. But we’ve got no reason to have conflict. We have got a good relationship.”

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