George Russell has vowed to have a "really strong" winter after voicing his belief that he is "absolutely ready" to become a World Champion. The Briton completed his debut season with Mercedes in 2022 and clinched the team's one and only victory of the campaign at the penultimate race of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Russell also finished ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers' standings, having scored 275 points in P4 to Hamilton's 240 in P6. With his first year of racing alongside Hamilton under his belt, Russell feels even more prepared to fight for a title, though he admits that he has felt ready for this for some time.
Russell: I've felt ready to win title for a couple of years
While Russell was mostly racing an uncompetitive car at Williams prior to joining Mercedes, the 24-year-old already started to feel capable of becoming a champion. "I feel absolutely ready to win a World Championship," Russell told Sky Sports F1 . "I've felt ready for a couple of years now. "I think having this season next to Lewis has been huge for me personally to learn some of the little details, how to get more out of my car, more out of my team, and extracting everything out of the package when it truly matters." Russell is now looking to prepare as well as he can for the 2023 season over the winter break. "I'm definitely going to have a really strong winter," he explained. "I'm going to work really hard with my team. Every single person at Mercedes' factory is going to be pushing like hell to deliver a car, to give us a chance to go fight next season."
2022 achievements 'not good enough', says Russell
With Mercedes having struggled to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari in 2022, the team look set to make changes to their car for the upcoming campaign. Russell acknowledges that he and the squad have achieved some positive things during the year, but that it is "not good enough" for the standards set. "I guess if you told me that at the start of the year [I would beat Hamilton], I would have been extraordinarily happy because if you beat Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes, most of the time that means you [are] a World Champion," he said. "Obviously, I would take the positives away from the season, but I'm not going to celebrate finishing P4 in the championship. "I'm going to celebrate winning the race in Brazil because that was a huge achievement for myself and the whole team. But the fact is, we're all here to win and we're here to win World Championships. "So we've not done a perfect job this season. We've had a relatively clean and smooth season with the car and package we've had. "But to the standards this team set, some standards I set myself... it's not good enough and we need to go on next year and give it more."