“Good things come to those who wait!”
A sincere truth of life, which was amplified brilliantly by the world-famous Guinness beer commercial. More than a catchphrase, it is a reality that, in hindsight, reminds one about the fruit that patience can bear.
However, the line, as it stands, seems a tad bit incomplete. So how about if one were to add, “Good things come to those who wait and persist?”
What if the statement placed the above in a Formula 1 context?
Would it be wrong to suggest that several drivers embody the above but none better than George Russell?
For a driver who, until a year back was struggling to break into points and today, in just his third year in Formula 1, has not only scored points but has also collected a podium, but is now Mercedes-bound, indeed it has to be said:
Good Things Came to George Russell’s Way for He Persisted
In a sport that changes lap after lap and minute after minute, where success can be measured by a thousandth of a second, it may not be entirely wrong to say that George Russell is a successful driver.
One among the famous young trinity of Formula 1’s new-age drivers comprising Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc are merely twenty-three (23). George Russell has done at such a young age what many fail to do after years of rigorous runs in a one-of-a-kind sport.
That’s reaching a top team in the sport that’s not let go of even a single opportunity to clinch both the Driver and the Constructor title from the onset of the 2014 F1 season.
As Russell prepares to let it all sink in, perhaps presumably bewildered and excited in equal measure by the very thought of having ‘truly arrived’ in the sport, it’s a win-win for both fans and the young Briton alike.
A driver who had to wait for forty-eight races to score his first points in Formula 1 courtesy an excellent finish at the Hungaroring, just a month ago.
The P8, it could be said, which fetched a competent driver no more than four points back then would indeed have seemed a podium finish for only George Russell knows how hard he’s had to work to earn his points where many are simply fortunate to score some.
Take For instance, Two of His Famous Contemporaries in Norris and Leclerc
While the McLaren driver found a P6 result in just his second F1 race, courtesy of a fighting P6 at the 2019 Bahrain GP, Charles, who scored a P6 too, found his first points in his fourth-ever race with Sauber.
Not that those points were any easy to bag, but that George’s journey toward opening his account in F1’s top flight has been far more arduous and more prolonged suggests why every single move of his has been closely monitored, assessed, and subjected to scrutiny albeit also painted in a rich vein of appreciation.
George Russell is the living epitome of a lean and tall driver who speaks freely but watchfully goofs around but never deliberately scores headlines; George Russell is the living epitome of- what you see is what you get.
Though he maintained that winning smile for real despite undergoing lots of inner upheavals, if not necessarily unbearable torment, it gives ample evidence of why George Russell is rated highly.
How’s that, though?
At the Tuscan GP of 2020, he all but finished in points; think of his eleventh, which was so painfully close to garnering that elusive point.
Then, at Spielberg in 2021, he very nearly made it to tenth, before Fernando Alonso of Alpine chased him away, later admitting ‘sadness’ at denying the fighting Briton the very thing the Spaniard has in aplenty but Russell, not so much.
What draws one to Russell, who’s also become a king of one-liners, of late, for instance, suggesting his first-ever conversation with Kimi ended with the Iceman twisting his nipples, is the fact that he’s an easy-going lad.
One whose business is racing, someone who won’t be spotted around getting involved in politics.
In stark contrast to creatures of his age and generation, George Russell- who’s already experienced the agony and ecstasy of being an F1 driver- isn’t a poser.
The kind with words, condescending or arrogant never, he belongs to the grid, one he, almost invariably, wishes to ace every time he arrives at walking almost gingerly and thus, denying the onlookers the right to guess just how fast can he get.
But more than speed, George Russell, a former FIA Formula 2 champion (2018), is more control and balance than being blindingly fast.
A reminder that firmness can win it too, loud theatrics and roaring speed may not always be the weapon of choice.
What could be a better illustration to support this seemingly chest-thumping submission other than reminiscing the 2021 Spa race, or the lack of it, where Russell, known famously as “Mr. Saturday,” conquered the minute challenge? Belgian GP and its inclement weather on Sunday tasked drivers with.
While overtaking behind a safety car is like a cardinal sin in Formula 1 that Russell did, and keeping all four wheels in motion, and importantly, inside the track limits at an undrivable Spa, was a laudable effort if not an incredible one.
But mustn’t we forget that to get P2, also the grid position the King’s Lynn-born started the hugely truncated contest from was only possible because a day earlier, he’d driven his Williams to its very limit?
And that was under bright sunny skies amid a packed grid boasting of frontrunners, four of which, at least, were trying to break into the first row- Leclerc and Sainz going fastest in Q2, only for Max and Hamilton closing a top battle in Q3 with there being barely any difference between the two of the finest drivers on this grid.
Yet, how George Russell came in between two giants at the moment, expanding the envelope and broadening the discussion for a much-awaited Saturday made for excellent viewing and, importantly, would have served a silent warning to his contemporaries about never taking the boy in a Williams lightly.
What could be Expected Next Year at Mercedes?
Now that Russell has found himself a seat any driver would give a limb for; the 2022 season finds itself draped in yet more excitement as if the soon-to-be-introduced rules hadn’t already excited fans enough.
Yet the biggest question for the valuable talent behind 51 race-starts, thus far, is whether he can turn into a force at Mercedes.
Forget not that his teammate is going to be the one who’s not only hard to beat, but someone whose mere statistical achievements can make one shudder in disbelief.
They don’t call him Sir Lewis Hamilton for anything. The king of Mercedes, it’s a forewarning to Russell, will be ready to embrace a talent who’d love to be the knight of the Black Arrows.
And implicit in what could be called, arguably speaking, Formula 1’s most dazzling pairing yet since the Nico-Lewis alliance in 2016 and the Kimi and Alonso unit in 2014, would be a new dynamic amid a constant tussle.
Who knows, silent ego clashes, one hopes not though, but certainly, a trailblazing tussle of speed, one which both drivers have an equal chance of mastering.
Feature Image Credit to Embed from Getty Images