Spare A Thought For George Russell

George Russell
George Russell

It could be argued that in some ways, the recent Austrian Grand Prix held at the idyllic and mesmerisingly beautiful Styrian Alps sort of opened up the current world championship season somewhat. For starters, it was never hugely positioned in the favour of eventual race winner George Russell. Much of the contest was, since the beginning, primed to be a great fight between Lando Norris of McLaren and Max Verstappen of Red Bull.

George Russell was at it at Silverstone

And while that was eventually the case as towards the closing stages, the two talented drivers, ever so keen to outfox each other, caught up with one other, literally speaking, the beneficiary was George Russell. While it is a debate for another day whether the Englishman deserved to win or not, what can’t be falsified is that Russell, up to that point, had one his job to remain in close contact with the roaring McLaren and Mercedes cars in front of him.

He kept pushing and proved in the end that his Mercedes was firmly suited to deliver good race pace on a track that’s actually the smallest in terms of lap times on the F1 calendar.

But it’s not just what transpired at Austria that underlines the talent of the 26-year-old driver. In the next race, which happens to be F1’s most recent Grand Prix, George Russell kept him, and thus, his Mercedes team in business for something sterling at Silverstone.

Results come to those who persevere and George Russell has been at it

Expectations were high when he denied not just the hugely experienced Lewis Hamilton from taking pole, but in the process of setting the fastest lap time in Q3, even out qualified a certain Lando Norris. The latter, F1’s hot property and one of the prime reasons for McLaren’s much-respected revival.

Truth be told, George Russell’s 1:25:819 was a ballsy effort that clinched not just a deserving pole position for him, but reaffirmed Mercedes’s strong desire to fight for top honours in the 2024 season. And the way Russell fought on for the first sixteen laps of the Silverstone race was firmly evident of his form.

He was desirous of a win, which would have been a first for him in front of the home crowds, provided that would have actually happened. Alas, a water leak issue in his Mercedes car broke his heart and with it, expectations of tens of thousands of fans who greatly believe in the boy described as the team’s future.

But that is Formula 1. Till the point he drove on the track at Silverstone, George Russell seemed confident of himself and was in good contention of finishing the race well. A podium, at the very least, was in sight. But it was never meant to be.

Yes, there have been situations where George Russell’s race outcome has been rather fortuitous, such as the 2021 Belgian GP, where he was adjudged P2 at the completion of just the second lap of the race, the event severely truncated owing to the huge downpour at Spa-Francorchamps. This result was in accordance with an FIA ruling in the case of a rain severely hampering the outcome of a Grand Prix.

But even then, Russell’s been proving his worth; three years back in the day, he lined up his Williams within the top three on the starting grid at Spa.

Cut to Silverstone

And George Russell was resolute and hopeful for a strong showing. That’s not to mention that his performances as on date have been any disappointing. The avid youngster has scored five top-five finishes already. Barring his Austrian GP triumph, Russell was responsible behind a Mercedes car landing on fifth at the season-opener at Bahrain, a third in Canada and that fourth in Spain.

Even at the closely-fought Monaco GP, which was utterly dominated by the two Ferraris, it was George Russell who placed his Mercedes on a fighting fifth.

Had Silverstone panned out differently, it would have yielded a fourth-consecutive finish inside the top four for George Russell.

However, great results are often dampened by the loss of luck. But even then, one must not stop trying. Surely, George Russell will come back stronger in a fortnight’s time at Hungary.

George Russell
George Russell celebrating his Austria GP win

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