George Russell started crying very early on his post-win lap in F1 Brazil GP, as Toto Wolff adds on the fine show from him.

F1’s newest winner Mercedes’ Russell took an emotional win at Interlagos in Brazil GP – making it a double with the sprint victory too. At Williams he was known as Mr Saturday and this season as Mr Consistent with just two Grands Prix where he has not scored.

It has been a tough season for Russell and Mercedes overall. Lack of speed early on in the campaign coupled with the dreaded porpoising that all teams encountered where they seemed to suffer the most hampered their run. But off late, they are back up there and with one race to go, they certainly seem to have their mojo back.

For Russell, it was not an easy win to begin with but both on Saturday and Sunday, he made it work. All the hard work was done in the sprint race to win from third and on Sunday, it was maintaining the lead and nailing the re-starts.

But it wasn’t plain sailing for Russell. In the pits it was a different ball game as all was not right with his car where he had a water leak which could have ended his race early but the team did not convey it to him as Wolff opened up on his victory.

Here is what Russell had to say:

Feelings, emotions and thoughts –

Russell: “I was pretty impressed at how quickly I started crying, to be honest, once I crossed the line. It was literally by the time we were at Turn 2 I was… 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. 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”.

“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. No, it’s difficult for everybody and I sort of feel that for all of us, but 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. For people who don’t know, 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.”

Starts and restarts, getting them right –

Russell: “Yeah, definitely tricky, for sure. But you just have to go through the process and treat it as if it’s any other. There was a sort of a moment in the race where I was looking a lot at my mirrors, you know, seeing Lewis there, but I sort of realised I just need to look forward now. And the only way I’m going to win this race, is by looking ahead, driving as fast as I can, making no mistakes. And you know, my engineer was on the radio, giving me the gaps, probably four times a lap. And it was always between 1.1 and 1.3, 1.1, 1.4, 1.1. I just wanted that little extra half a second buffer. It was only when I came into Sector 3 on the last lap that I knew we’d got it.”

Allowed to fight –

Russell: “Yes, and no. Because we’ve always said that we’re free to race. Toto and the team have put a lot of faith and trust in Lewis and I and we’ve obviously had a few side-by-side moments throughout this year and has always been respectful and I think we’ve got a huge amount of respect for one another. I think I just wanted to understand the position, because if we weren’t… I knew how important that one-two was for the team. So if we weren’t racing, it was kind of like, ‘bring the car home’; if we were racing, it was a quali lap every single lap and you’re risking every corner. Because the laps just had to be perfect. So yeah, obviously happy to have won it that way.”

Here is what Wolff had to say:

Russell’s win –

Wolff: “I think he deserved to win in Bahrain, and we let him down with the car. That’s why today this victory makes us happy because he could have had one on the clock two years ago, and he didn’t and now he has that first victory.”

Issues for Russell –

Wolff: “We had a water leak on the car throughout the race, and it wasn’t clear that we could actually make it to the end. We all agreed we’re going to let him drive to the end even without water, on whatever was there to cool it, and just try to finish the race.”

Seeing his growth –

Wolff: “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. He’s the first of our new junior programme that has won a race. Obviously Lewis has been there forever, and is the most successful of the ones that have graduated from our junior academy. But six years later, [Russell is] a grand prix race winner. 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 schooling he could have had, maybe a year too long. But in any case the most relevant thing is that he’s a grand prix winner and a deserving grand prix winner.”

Free racing –

Wolff: “As a team, we always stood for free racing, and we have never done otherwise, unless a driver is mathematically not in contention any more for a championship and the other one is. We were actually looking forward to them racing on par with the same tyre, and we discussed it this morning in the strategy meeting.”

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