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George Russell

Russell shares the cultural differences between Mercedes and Williams

George Russell stepped up to Mercedes from Williams for the 2022 Formula 1 season, and has shared the biggest differences between the two outfits.

George Russell believes the stability of Mercedes is a key difference between them and the Williams Formula 1 squad he previously raced for.

A Mercedes junior driver, Russell was handed his F1 debut by Williams in 2019, and spent three years there before promotion in '22 to the Silver Arrows alongside Lewis Hamilton.

It was a difficult time for Williams with an alarming lack of performance, COVID-19, owner Sir Frank Williams selling up and then passing away in 2021.

And to Russell, the manner in which the two teams go racing in F1 is hugely different.

Russell on Williams versus Mercedes expectations in F1

Speaking on the Beyond the Grid podcast, Russell shared how for Williams just surviving in F1 was a success versus the weight of expectations at the eight-time Constructors' World Champions.

"The spirit at Williams was immense, everybody there worked so hard, they were so passionate, but throughout my time it was going through a difficult period," he said.

"2019 was not a year of performance and it was a year of survival in 2020 (as Williams went pointless for the first time in their F1 history).

"When the pandemic hit, the team had to do everything it could to survive and stay afloat and not go bankrupt. That paid such a huge toll on everybody within the company.

"Obviously now through the sale of the company and the takeover [by US private investment firm Dorilton Capital], that really is a team on the up, [but] it takes time to refine everything.

"At Mercedes, they've had so much success. Toto [Wolff] has been at the helm for so long, and the culture is ingrained within everybody here. It is a well-oiled machine working on all cylinders.

"I knew how excellent the team was and how talented everybody was, but it's been quite a reminder since joining the level at which they operate.

"It's been truly inspiring for me to see 2000 people giving everything they can to make fast race cars. Their priorities are race, race and race and they just want to win. That is pretty special."

Mercedes reinvent themselves with fresh talent, says Russell

The British driver has had a strong start to his Mercedes career, banking five podiums and a maiden F1 pole in Hungary despite the team struggling for performance in 2022.

He leads teammate Hamilton by 12 points in the standings and 7-6 across both qualifying and races at the summer break.

"There is a lot of core people here, especially in the race team that have been since the Honda days and through the success of Brawn (such as Sporting Director Ron Meadows and Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin)," Russell observed.

"But there is still lots of fresh and new energy coming in and bringing great things to the team.

"It feels very much like a family team here, but Williams genuinely was a family-run business.

"The majority of people at Williams, when I went around the factory, and I was meeting people the first time, everybody I met had been there 15-20, 25-30 years.

"That seemed to be the case throughout the whole factory."

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