Mercedes Formula One driver George Russell has been left “speechless” following his maiden Grand Prix victory at Sao Paulo, with the British racer also helping his team take its first win and one-two of the season with Lewis Hamilton finishing second late on Sunday.
Russell’s Sprint and Grand Prix double in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos has capped a fine recovery for Mercedes in the back end of 2022, after being pegged back by Red Bull and Ferrari.
Adding to the success at Interlagos on Sunday, Hamilton backed up Russell in the other Mercedes to give the team a one-two finish, meaning they are now just 19 points behind Ferrari in the battle for Position 2 (P2) in the constructors’ standings.
“What an amazing feeling. Just a huge thank you to the whole team for making this possible. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster this season, this race,” British driver Russell was quoted as saying by formula1.com.
“(It was) a really tough race. I felt in control. Lewis was super-fast and, when I saw the Safety Car, I thought, ‘Oh Jesus, this is going to be a really difficult end.’ He put me under so much pressure, but (I’m) so happy to come away with the victory!”
Asked to reflect on his journey to the top, Russell paid tribute to several figures over the years, including his family and members of the Mercedes organisation, which he joined as a junior driver in 2017.
“I’m speechless. On the in-lap all of these memories sort of came flooding back. Starting off with my mum and dad in go karting and going through all the support I’ve had from the rest of my family, my girlfriend, my trainer, my manager,” he said.
“Then obviously the likes of Gwen Lagrue who gave me the opportunity to get on the programme with Mercedes and (Mercedes strategy chief) James Vowles and Toto (Wolff, Mercedes team boss) — the list is endless. I can’t thank them enough, (I’m) super proud.”