George Russell 'gutted' to miss out on Sakhir GP victory
George Russell has opened up on how fighting with Sebastian Vettel has helped him improve his skills and given him confidence. The 22-year-old is pushing for a Mercedes seat in the 2022 season replacing either Lewis Hamilton or Valtteri Bottas.
Russell stepping into the Silver Arrows for the Sakhir Grand Prix after Hamilton tested positive for coronavirus.
The Williams star looked on course to win on two different occasions until a pit stop issue and a puncture dropped him down the field.
Russell did recover to ninth and achieved the fastest lap of the race to underline his credentials to Toto Wolff.
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The youngster has now opened up on how racing the likes of Sebastian Vettel last season really helped him improve as a driver as he pushes for an opportunity at Mercedes.
“I’ve got a lot better as a racing driver because we’ve been fighting Alfa Romeo, Haas and often Vettel all season,” said Russell during an interview with Motorsport.com.
“I was talking about it recently. I probably fought for position the most with Sebastian last season, when I think back to the Nürburgring and Mugello, to Austria at the beginning of the year.
“Even in Abu Dhabi, we were fighting for a few laps. And Portimao, maybe? Imola, maybe?
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“We bumped into each other on the track all season. If you had told me that a year earlier, I would have thought you were crazy.
“That experience, racing wheel-to-wheel in a Formula 1 car, has helped me so much.”
Russell is also full of confidence after his display at Mercedes in which he was able to prove his overtaking abilities.
“I’ve only had one experience of being able to attack in a duel, which was when I was in the Mercedes,” said Russell.
“That gives you so much more confidence as a driver.
“So I’m realistic – we have two of the slowest cars on the grid. It will always be difficult to compete because we have little grip, but it’s all about small details and continuously improving them.”
F1 is on its winter break at the moment with pre-season testing to get underway in March.
The Australian Grand Prix was meant to be the opening race but is set to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It means Bahrain is expected to host the first race on Sunday, March 28 instead.
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