Russell admits ‘tears were flooding’ after emotional F1 breakthrough in São Paulo
George Russell was overcome with emotion as he crossed the line to take his first Formula One victory at the São Paulo Grand Prix. The British driver admitted he was in floods of tears as he won at Interlagos thinking of everyone who had helped him to reach F1 and to claim a victory in his fourth year in the sport and his first with Mercedes.
Russell won having seen off a late charge from teammate Lewis Hamilton to score his debut win with an exceptional drive of nerveless control and maturity under enormous pressure. However having taken the flag the 24-year-old could not contain the emotion he had so brilliantly held in check.
“I was impressed at how quick I started crying once I crossed the line, by the time I got to turn two the tears were flooding,” he said. “I just thought of my family, my mum, my girlfriend, my sister with her husband, my brother, my father and his two children, all of my closest family. I know they were all watching.
“It has been such an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. From go-karting, travelling up and down the country in the camper van with my parents to the support my brother and sister gave me and my girlfriend has given me this season.”
Hamilton acknowledged Russell’s achievement and was fulsome in his praise for his teammate but was dismissive of Max Verstappen’s attempt to overtake him that ended in the pair hitting one another and Verstappen being penalised. Verstappen has taken the title this year with little on-track incident and Hamilton intimated that the Dutchman drives differently when he is forced to race the British driver.
“It’s natural when you have success and the numbers on your chest that you become a bit of a target but it’s OK, it’s nothing I have not dealt with before,” he said.