Verstappen “could have damaged his career” had he started it against Hamilton, says Russell

Spread the love
Photo Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

During an interview, the young English Mercedes driver, George Russell, retraced his first years in Formula 1 and the path of the world champion at present, Max Verstappen.

According to Russell, the Red Bull driver could have had problems reaching where he is today if he had found himself at the beginning of his career alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes during the Brit’s dominant spell.

Verstappen started out at Toro Rosso in 2015. He got the call-up to Red Bull Racing four races into the 2016 season following the demotion of Daniil Kvyat.

“For example, Max Verstappen obviously got his promotion after 18 months, but perhaps if he went into a team like Mercedes against Lewis Hamilton at the peak of his powers, it could have damaged his career,” the Englishman said to SquareMile.

“So you’ve got to look at it from both sides, and for sure Max was a greater driver after three or four years under his belt compared to where he was after 18 months under his belt.

“If you’re going up against a guy who’s absolutely in his prime and dominating in the car that he’s so used to, maybe he wouldn’t be in the position he is today.”

He didn’t just give his opinion on Max Verstappen, who has been in Red Bull for seven years now, but also opened up about his experience at Williams. Russell won the F2 Championship in 2018 and debuted in F1 with Williams in 2019, where he stayed until the end of the 2021 season.

The 2022 São Paulo Grand Prix winner now sees the benefits of learning and honing his skills at the back of the field to be fully prepared for when the time came to join a top team.

“But I could sit here and say I lost three years of my career because I was in a car that was right at the back of a grid and I couldn’t fight for wins. Or you can see all the positives from my time there.

“I look at those years now thinking, ‘yeah, perhaps I did learn more racing at the back compared to what some of my rivals may have done being thrown in the deep end from the beginning’.

“Some drivers have been thrown in at the deep end early and it’s hurt their careers.”

George Russell in his 59th and final outing for Williams in 2021. Photo Credit: Williams Racing

“So I’ve got to be grateful for the people who have advised me and helped me and nurtured me to this position. In those three years that passed by, perhaps I could have been fighting a bit higher up the grid, but if I wasn’t in a Mercedes, I wouldn’t have been fighting for championships.

“So what’s the difference for me? At the end of the day, I want to win championships and if I was at the back of the grid or let’s say if I was fighting for top sevens, to be honest there’s no difference.

“Ultimately, I’m happy with where I am right now,“ concluded Russell.