George Russell says “doing a very good job” is expected by Mercedes and therefore he doesn’t look for constant praise from the team. He also talks about his future with the German manufacturer.
George Russell, a Mercedes junior driver, had a tough season in an uncompetitive Williams, but his performances have not gone unnoticed. He outperformed his team-mate Robert Kubica in most races in 2019 and received praise from the Formula 1 media. However he says he doesn’t expect constant validation from Mercedes.
“I’ve learned over my three years with Mercedes is that doing a very good job is expected,” said the Briton.
“If you’re a postman and you post a letter, you don’t expect someone to pat them on the back for posting a letter – that’s their job.
“My job, [Mercedes] invested in me, they believe in me. My job is to perform to a high level, week in, week out, because that’s what they expect from me.
“They say well done to me when they think I’ve done well, but they’re not going out of their way constantly to say, ‘George you’re doing an amazing job’ because that’s what I’m paid to do, and that’s what they believe I should be doing.
“Mercedes are keeping a very close eye on everything, every session, every qualifying, every race I am doing. I definitely feel recognised within the team, but it’s also good to know I’m also being recognised from without.
“It does mean a lot, but like I said, I’m here for myself, I’m here because I want to do the best job for myself week in, week out.
“I’m not looking for praise from anyone really. I’m just looking to do the best job I possibly can.”
After Esteban Ocon, another Mercedes junior driver, signed with Renault for 2020 and beyond, many are speculating that this could open the door for Russell to join the German manufacturer in 2021.
“I don’t think it changes a huge amount for me that Esteban has sort of moved aside. On paper, it’s definitely very good, but in my whole career, I’ve never tried to look too far ahead of myself.
“I’m getting asked the question a lot now about 2021, ‘is this your time?’
“My opinion is I focus on race by race. If I do the best job every single weekend, that opportunity will come.
“That was the same when I was racing in Formula 3 trying to get picked up by Mercedes, the same in GP3, the same in F2, I was just telling myself, don’t think about the F1 seat, if I go out, qualify on pole and win the race, it will come to me.
“And that’s the same in this position at the moment. I’m just focused on that.”