George Russell’s busy schedule for his first year at Mercedes F1 has been “a shock” for him, as he confided recently.
With 60 days devoted to off-track activities (simulation, marketing, meetings at the factory), not counting physical training, the Briton admitted to being emptied after Abu Dhabi.
Fatigue was at its peak at the end of that 22-race campaign when he was done with the Austin/Mexico one-two, attended the Vegas Grand Prix launch event, returned to the UK for a simulator work and then flew to the Brazilian Grand Prix where he would claim his first F1 victory.
“Yeah, probably that was too much. Way too many to be honest,” admet Russell.
“I knew it was going to be tough in that regard and when I look at the calendar, the end of the season is very demanding when you’re in a top team anyway. At Williams, I didn’t have all that, H24. You live Mercedes, you sleep Mercedes, you think Mercedes. Even this winter I’m sure.”
“At the end of the day, I’m here, in F1, I’m a racing driver in a big team and that’s what I want. Of course there’s probably a better balance to be found but we can’t race without our sponsors, they’re a big reason the team is so successful, we can’t race well without a simulator, without meetings, without training…”
“So like I said you just need to find that good balance and you learn with experience that you might not want to attend events before this race there because this race was more tiring than elsewhere.”
“Having events, making sure they’re as logistically convenient as possible, so they don’t wear you out so much, is important. You know, those last 15 laps in Brazil, the pressure, the intensity of the racing, it was mentally and physically tiring with all those days behind me from Austin.
“You’re breathing really hard – I’d like to know what my average heart rate was, but I’m sure it was well over 180 for the last 15/20 minutes, just non-stop, it’s like you’re sprinting.”
“So there are times like that where you wish you were doing a little more in the gym and being a little more fit than marketing. But no matter how fit you are, it will always be difficult. This is F1.”