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Mercedes has “motivation and fire” after 2021 F1 defeat

Having dominated the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and looked on course to seal a record-breaking eighth world title, Hamilton lost the championship to Max Verstappen after FIA race director Michael Masi failed to implement the rules correctly during a late Safety Car period. 

Unable to pit for new tyres without conceding track position, Hamilton was left exposed to Verstappen when Masi restarted the race with a contentious one-lap shoot-out. Verstappen, who did stop under the Safety Car for fresh rubber, overtook Hamilton on the final lap to clinch his maiden world title. 

Speaking as a Mercedes driver for the first time since making his winter switch from Williams, Russell revealed how motivated the team is to hit back in 2022. 

“Because I spent so much time with the team prior to joining Williams in Formula 1 as a junior driver, I feel like I know everybody so well already,” Russell said in a video interview with Mercedes. 

“So we were just straight to business on the important bits and bobs, to understand the new car, to understand the challenges, and to try and prepare as best as possible for the season ahead.

“And I think following the conclusion of last year, there’s so much motivation and fire within the whole factory to bounce back. And that is incredible for me to see.”

With uncertainty surrounding the competitive order following a major overhaul to F1’s technical regulations, Russell said he is setting himself “micro targets” for the upcoming campaign. 

“My hopes for 2022 is to really get the maximum for myself and the team around me,” he explained. 

“I think it’s going to be such an interesting year of development, and I think that’s truly where all the performance is going to be this year.

“But in terms of a result, I truly don’t believe you can put a value or target on that, because nobody knows where they’re going to be when they reach the first race.

“You have to have your micro targets on where am I going to improve on myself? Where am I going to improve on the car?

“And if you do every single aspect correctly you give yourself the best chance of reaching the obvious goal.”


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