British Grand Prix: A preview lap of the race track
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Lando Norris has claimed George Russell has become a different person since joining Mercedes due to the pressure of going up against Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren star said Russell is not “as fun” as he was before joining Mercedes and claimed he could be “even more popular” if he had kept the same personality.
He said it was not a good thing that people have their personality taken away from them when joining other squads which is something Norris says he has tried to avoid. The 22-year-old said: “My manager, my trainer, my parents, have always tried to keep me as me, rather than try to shape me. I see other drivers get shaped more because of who they are with, the teams they are with, and I don’t think that is a good thing. It takes away their personality.
“Growing up with George for instance, was a lot of fun. He was a great person, but it is different at Mercedes – a different vibe and a different atmosphere. I just don’t see as fun a side of him. George is a great person, and I feel like the personality he had a few years ago, he would be even more popular.”
Russell beat Norris to the Formula Two crown in 2018 while both joined F1 at the start of the 2019 season. Norris was instantly in a quicker car at McLaren while Russell was with the struggling Williams team.
However, Russell is now the one in the faster drive after earning his move to the reigning constructors’ champions, Mercedes. But, Norris has blamed the pressure of driving for the Silver Arrows as having a massive impact on his compatriot.
He explained: “I don’t think it is Mercedes’ fault but the pressure of being with Mercedes, and having Lewis as a team-mate, is never going to be an easy thing.
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“You don’t want to be seen to be having a fun time and playing around, but on the other side there are no complaints because George is doing an amazing job this year, so it is working for him.” Russell’s excellent performances at Mercedes have been one of the talking points of the season.
The former Williams star has beaten Hamilton in every race bar two this season and enjoys a healthy 34-point lead over the seven-time champion in the drivers’ standings.
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