Russell plays down beating Hamilton in first year at Mercedes

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George Russell has played down beating Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' Championship due to Mercedes' "difficulties" in 2022.

The Briton outscored the seven-time world champion by 35 points in his first season at the Brackley-based team and claimed their only victory in Brazil.

However, Russell believes becoming just the third teammate to beat Hamilton in the championship standings is less significant given Mercedes' issues for much of 2022.

“If I had been told that at the beginning of the season, I would have been incredibly proud and happy,” he said.

“After all, nine times out of 10, when you finish ahead of Lewis Hamilton, you probably become World Champion.

“But I think in a season like this when the car isn’t working we’ve all had our own difficulties. I’ve no doubt that he’s going to be probably back to his normal level next year."


The most impressive part of Russell's season was his consistency as he only finished outside the top five on three occasions during the season.

In contrast, Hamilton's year only picked up from the Canadian GP as he did most of the development work to try and fix the Mercedes' problems.

“I think he had a very difficult start to the season when things weren’t really going smoothly for him, and they were probably going a bit smoother for me," the 24-year-old added.

“That kind of swung around a little bit [in] the second half of the season, but looking back on the season as a whole, it probably balanced itself out.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agreed with Russell, calling the championship results "irrelevant" and praising Hamilton's attitude throughout the season. 

“I think Lewis has been really good this year,” the Austrian stated.


“He’s held us up at times – the energy level when it was down, in the briefing room, on days when it was difficult for him.

“The partnership with George was really good. They together developed the car.

“For me, knowing him for 10 years from a personal side, a human side, exceptional – better than older performances he had in the car.

“His attitude and mindset this year was outstanding, of not winning in a year.”