Russell “realised” before the last resumption that he had to forget Hamilton

George Russell claims he managed the last laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix by “trying to forget” his teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Russell Hamilton brazilian grand prix 2022

In order to achieve his first Formula 1 victory, George Russell claims he knew he needed to “look forward” and ignore Lewis Hamilton was pursuing him during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Russell started from pole in Sao Paulo, and when Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed at Turn 1 following the first Safety Car restart, Russell’s prospects of winning strengthened.

Hamilton started P2 for the final run to the finish line, but a second, later Safety Car threatened to end his possibility of success.

To keep Hamilton just outside of the one second activation threshold, the younger British driver quickly overtook Hamilton at a distance just outside of DRS range while maintaining a speed advantage into the middle sector.

Russell managed to finish 1.529 seconds ahead of Hamilton to earn the World Championship Grand Prix and becoming the 113th racer to do it.

Russell explained his changed strategy during the race when speaking afterward.

Russell: Looking ahead was the only option

Russell told the media, including, “[It was] definitely tricky, for sure, but you just have to go through the process and treat it as if it’s any other.”

“There was a moment in the race where I was looking a lot at my mirrors seeing Lewis there, but I sort of realised I just need to look forward now.

“[I thought] the only way I’m going to win this race is by looking ahead, driving as fast as I can [and] making no mistakes.

“My engineer was on the radio, giving me the gaps, probably four times a lap, it was always between 1.1 and 1.3, 1.1, 1.4, 1.1.

“I just wanted that little extra half-a-second buffer. It was only when I came into Sector 3 on the last lap that I knew we’d got it.”

No team orders used

The team told Russell during the last Safety Car period that both cars were free to compete for the victory and that team orders would not be used.

A question regarding Russell’s reaction to the Mercedes cars competing in the race was posed.

“Yes, and no, because we’ve always said that we’re free to race,” Russell responded.

“Toto [Wolff] and the team have put a lot of faith and trust in Lewis and I and we’ve obviously had a few side-by-side moments throughout this year and has always been respectful and I think we’ve got a huge amount of respect for one another.

“I think I just wanted to understand the position, because I knew how important that one-two was for the team.

“So, if we weren’t racing, it was kind of like, ‘bring the car home’; if we were racing, it was a qualifying lap every single lap and you’re risking every corner.

“The laps just had to be perfect, but I’m obviously happy to have won it that way.”

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Brazilian GP, Brazilian Grand Prix, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, George Russell, Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

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