I was crying by turn two after taking first win, Russell admits

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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George Russell said “tears were flooding” soon after he claimed his first Formula 1 grand prix victory in Brazil yesterday.

The Mercedes driver held off late pressure from Lewis Hamilton in the other W13 to score the team’s first victory of 2022 at Interlagos. He admitted he was “pretty impressed at how quickly I started crying” after taking the chequered flag in first place.

“Once I crossed the line, literally by the time we were at turn two tears were flooding. I just thought of my family to be honest – everybody’s back at home. I’ve got my mum at home with my girlfriend, I’ve got my sister with her husband, my brother with my father and his two children, so all of my closest family were a little bit spread out, but I know that they were all watching together and as soon as I got my phone straight after the race, called them all in a group FaceTime.”

Russell’s breakthrough victory is the culmination of years of work which led to him joining Mercedes’ junior driver programme and eventually joining their F1 team full-time this year.

“It’s just been such an emotional roller coaster and journey for all of us, from go-karting, travelling up and down the country in the campervan with my parents, to the support my brother and sister gave me and the support my girlfriend’s given me throughout this whole season.

Race start, Interlagos, 2022
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“It’s not a straightforward life in Formula 1. We’re all living our dreams but your emotions vary substantially based on performance and you’re coming home from a weekend either very happy and things are good or coming home pretty disappointed.

“It’s difficult for everybody and I sort of feel that for all of us, not just my family. Everybody who’s supported me throughout my journey who’s given me this opportunity: Mercedes, Gwen [Lagrue], who’s been a huge part of giving me this opportunity. Gwen is the manager of the Mercedes driver programme and he’s the one who got me in with Mercedes in the beginning.

“And then so much support from Mercedes, with Williams, the people who have supported me throughout my journey in karting, Formula 4, Formula 3. The list is endless. All these thoughts just go rushing through your mind over the course of that 60 seconds and yeah, definitely a bit emotional, for sure.”

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He scored his first win at the same Interlagos circuit where he had his first run in an official Formula 1 practice session with Mercedes customer team Force India (now Aston Martin) five years earlier.

“It’s just been such an emotional roller coaster” – Russell
“Brazil and Sao Paulo is always going to hold a special place in my heart, no doubt,” said Russell. “I remember being on the grid last year, and being about a metre and a half away from the fans and everybody was just going crazy.

“The passion for Formula 1 here is just immense and yeah, so proud to get my victory in a place that has so much history and character in Formula 1.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said Russell’s victory was fully deserved success for the first graduate of their modern junior driver scheme.

“I thought about it at the end of the race, when he walked in as a 16-year-old with his suit and his tie and his PowerPoint presentation,” said Wolff. “He’s the first of our new junior programme that has won a race.

“Obviously, Lewis has been there forever and he’s the most successful of the ones that have graduated from the junior academy. But six years later, he’s a grand prix race winner, deserved.

“We’ve always set hard targets: You’ve got to win GP3, you’ve got to win F2 and he did that in his rookie seasons. And then I guess at Williams it was the best school[ing] he could have had. Maybe a year too long, but in any case today the most relevant is that he’s a grand prix winner and a deserving grand prix winner.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “I was crying by turn two after taking first win, Russell admits”

  1. Well done George – you will surpass Michael and Lewis’s 8x championships EASILY, if you drive for the ‘right’ team at the right time, whichever that team may be – the same is true of Fernando Alonso, but his choice of team somehow always backfired – give it beans ! Your version of HAMMER-TIME should be RUSSEL-TIME

  2. Honestly a commanding race for Russell, starting P1 but with all the safety cars and issues during the race I can’t see what he could have done better.

    Better late then never for the win, thoroughly deserved.

  3. Well, i don’t see what would be the problem about him crying.
    For a victory like that, i think it’s showing that he has joy and emotions.
    Pretty prositive for me :)
    Men can cry, there’s no problem about it for me ! It’s even a good thing !

  4. Can we please stop calling him Mr Saturday now?! 🙏 😉

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