Formula 1: George Russell has dropped off from last season, but why?

George Russell, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images)
George Russell, Mercedes, Formula 1 (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP via Getty Images) /

George Russell is in the midst of his second season with Mercedes in Formula 1, but he has quite noticeably dropped off in comparison to his first.

George Russell constantly had the spotlight on him during the 2022 Formula 1 season. He never failed to impress and happened to surprise many with his incredible consistency. However, the Brit is having quite a considerable drop-off this season.

Some might say that it was expected and that the season Russell had last year was more of a fluke. However, after watching him perform so well with a car that had many issues, with porpoising being a major one that lasted the whole season for Mercedes, the start of 2023 has been somewhat of a surprise.

Watching the 25-year-old drive a flawed car so well lets everyone know how talented he actually is.

With a very bouncy W13, George Russell had quite a superb 2022 Formula 1 season.

In 22 starts, he amassed one win, eight podium finishes, one pole position, four fastest laps, four front row starts, 19 Q3 appearances, 20 points finishes, and a whopping 275 points, which took him to fourth place in the championship standings.

While the W14 does not have the major porpoising issue, it still carries a few flaws. Nevertheless, Russell is driving a car that is better than what Mercedes produced last season.

One of the general issues seen so far with the W14 this season is the idea that the best of the car’s pace is yet to be unleashed. Supposedly, the design of the W14 resulted in some issues affecting the car’s performance to a fair extent.

Those issues should be solved in the ensuing races. But the porpoising in the W13 did not seem to affect Russell as much as the current issues in the W14. It was a stark contrast to Lewis Hamilton.

Additionally, Mercedes are involved in a much fiercer and closer battle compared to last season. As a result, Russell is having to divert more of his focus while battling the likes of the Aston Martins. Given that it has been a back-and-forth battle, he now has less of an opportunity to race freely, in a sense.

While Russell may not top his performance from last season, his drop-off may not seem so substantial at the end if the Mercedes upgrades have the intended effect. Ultimately, he was able to do better in bringing the pace out of the W13 than the W14, and the results so far this year show it.

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But another key difference between this season and last season is the competition. Red Bull are far ahead of everyone else, consistently taking a P1 and P2 to score 25 and 18 points, respectively. That means that there are few remaining high-value points positions. In essence, it is understandable that Russell has dropped off this season. However, the upgrades Mercedes implement could allow him to potentially attain more than half as many points as he earned in 2022.