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Russell has “a lot more to come” in bid to raise game against Hamilton

Despite a torrid campaign in which Mercedes saw their unprecedented run of eight successive constructors’ titles come to an end, Russell impressed as he outperformed seven-time world champion Hamilton in his debut season with the Silver Arrows. 

Russell claimed Mercedes’ only race win of the 2022 season and finished two places and 35 points clear of Hamilton in the championship standings, becoming the first teammate to defeat Hamilton since Nico Rosberg in 2016. 

“I think the great thing with Formula 1 and this sport is that it’s constantly evolving, and it’s a new challenge every single year,” Russell said. 

“There’s definitely still room to improve, and I feel that fills me with confidence, because I still felt like I performed at a very high level, even though that I know I’ve got a lot more in my pocket.” 

The 25-year-old Briton acknowledged there are still areas he needs to improve if he is to match Hamilton. 

“I think the main one is probably just the tyre management,” he explained. 

“It’s something Lewis is very good at, maximising the stints and getting the most out of the tyres across a stint. 

“That year under my belt being team-mates with him, seeing some of his traits, has been really, really beneficial for me. 

“So I feel like I was on quite a steep learning curve in that regard. But still, I feel like I’ve got a lot more to come.” 

Russell admitted he was “trying too hard” at times during his first season with Mercedes. 

“Looking back on those races, I would say most of the reasons were from trying too hard,” he said, “and that was a big lesson I learned, that sometimes the harder you try and the more you push, sometimes the result isn’t better.

“You’ve got to be very disciplined with yourself sometimes in your approach of knowing how hard to push yourself.

“It’s the same if you went to the gym every single day and was doing maximum bench presses every single day, at one point you’re probably going to injure yourself. It’s not the most efficient way to get stronger.

“That’s representative of racing. If you go out there and you drive the thing in anger, pushing it beyond the limit every single lap, that is not the fastest way to drive. Those races were probably validation for me.” 

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