George Russell says that he is not thinking about the possibility of challenging for a title in 2022, with his focus remaining the same as it was at Williams. The Briton spent his first three seasons in Formula 1 mostly battling towards the back of the field, given the Grove-based outfit's struggles in recent years. For 2022, though, Russell will have the opportunity to compete much nearer the front of the pack after joining the championship-winning Mercedes outfit. The team have taken eight consecutive Constructors' Championships since 2014, and their drivers have also won the World Championship in every one of those years barring the 2021 campaign.
Russell: "The approach is the same"
Despite the Silver Arrows' clear title-winning credentials, Russell is not thinking too much about the chance of fighting for a championship. "It's not even something I'm thinking about, to be honest," Russell told media including RacingNews365.com at the recent pre-season test in Barcelona. "I think it's quite incredible how racing drivers' minds work, that when you put the helmet on, it doesn't matter if you're fighting for the win, or - for me for the last few years - fighting at the back of grid. "You always go in with the exact same mindset."
Stand-in appearance for Mercedes was "just another race"
Russell cites the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix as an example of this, where the former Williams driver substituted for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes when the seven-time World Champion tested positive for COVID-19. Despite looking on course for a win, Russell eventually lost out due to problems at a pit-stop. "I had the best example of that in Bahrain when I raced for Mercedes," he explained. "For me, that was just another race. When we [were] out in front or starting from the front row, the approach is the same, the mindset's the same, the work you put into the event post-event is exactly the same. "So [the approach is] working on the process, and worry about everything afterwards."