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Schumacher radio criticism highlighted F1 privacy change for Russell

George Russell says that the way an off-the-cuff radio remark criticising Mick Schumacher last year became a big deal shows how he is more under the spotlight in Formula 1.

Mick Schumacher, Haas VF-22, battles with George Russell, Mercedes W13

The Briton attracted attention at the Singapore Grand Prix when he questioned why Haas racer Schumacher was being so aggressive in their battle for position.

“Schumacher is defending like it’s the race of his life, crikey,” declared Russell at one point, as their fight eventually ended in a clash.

After his first season at Mercedes, Russell said that that moment with newly-appointed Mercedes reserve Schumacher has illustrated to him how certain actions he takes now would never have been noticed previously when he was racing for Williams.

“These are things that are part of the experience when you are at the front,” said Russell, who capped the year with his first victory at Interlagos.

“Everything is under the microscope and that kind of comment last year [in 2021] would not have been picked up on.

“But I think there are two parts of it: one, it’s fighting your case; but two, it’s you just trying to offload some frustrations. And you do sometimes forget you are talking to the whole world.”

Russell believes that the Schumacher radio message also had a more aggressive tone than normal because of the incident happening at a challenging flyaway.

“My comment with Mick was more frustration from my side,” he added. 

“I’ve travelled to the other side of the world, put so much effort into that race, and there I am fighting outside the points.

George Russell, Mercedes AMG

George Russell, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I am frustrated, I am upset. And anybody who is frustrated or upset, physically exhausted, you are going to be a little bit emotional in the heat of the moment.

“If you go running on the treadmill for one and half hours in 30 degrees heat, with high humidity, and you’ve been overloaded mentally, then something happens that goes against you, you are going to be a bit frustrated.”

Russell explained that he had now taken on board the fact that, as someone fighting for F1 wins, everything he said was now public property.

He said: “This is part of my experience of, one, controlling this [frustration], and two, [thinking] ‘do I need to say it publicly?’ And I think that’s one of the challenges of this sport.

“You have no privacy. I have chosen to be the racing driver, because my dream is to become a Formula 1 world champion. 

“My dream isn’t to be famous, to be in front of the TV cameras day in and day out. My job and my dream is to race and to win.

“Some of these comments, this is to achieve that, forgetting that there are millions and millions of  people watching at home and every single word is being written down and under the microscope.

“This is also an experience for me. As I said, I probably said a lot of comments like this previously over the radio, but no one gave two damns.”

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