George Russell could be the driver to watch when the 2023 Formula One season gets underway in Australia in March, with the Briton itching to mount a title challenge in his second season with Mercedes.
The 24-year-old finished a strong fourth in the overall standings last year and became only the third driver to beat seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in equal machinery. He also chalked up the Mercedes team’s sole win of the season at the penultimate race in Brazil, leading Hamilton—who endured his first ever winless season—in a one-two for the formerly dominant champions.
Mercedes were caught off guard by the new-for-2022 rules but they ironed out the issues with their W13 challenger and got progressively stronger through the year, raising hopes of being back in the hunt in 2023. “Knowing the potential that we have within this team makes me excited for 2023,” said Russell in a post-season Q&A released by Mercedes.
Also read: Formula One: Jackie Stewart joins Hamilton in seeking more power for the drivers` association
“It is no secret how fantastic this operation is in Brackley and Brixworth and what the whole team are capable of. Obviously after a setback such as 2022, it’s really exciting knowing that we have the possibility to come back through and fight again in 2023,” said Russell.
Russell belongs to the younger generation of F1 stars, that also including Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, the generation that will carry the baton forward from Fernando Alonso, Hamilton and now-retired Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen’s triumph over Hamilton in their contentious and highly controversial ‘battle of the generations’ in 2021 already heralded a changing of the guard.
The Dutchman’s closest challenger this year was Ferrari’s Leclerc, until the Italian team’s title challenge imploded amid unreliability, strategic blunders and driver errors, allowing Verstappen to to walk away with a second successive title.