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F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him

, F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him

GEORGE RUSSELL will be far more comfortable with the tight turns at Silverstone than the tunnel of autograph hunters.

The Mercedes man is a superstar attraction at the British Grand Prix this weekend — but fame does not sit too comfortably with the young driver from Norfolk.

New British F1 hero George Russell is a big hit with fans but is happiest with his quiet life at home in London

George Russell and girlfriend Carmen Montero Mundt are still adjusting to fame

He is the only British-born F1 ace living in the UK, with Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Alex Albon all  in tax haven  Monaco.

Russell instead lives in a flat in London with his girlfriend Carmen Montero Mundt — and together they are slowly getting used to the fame.

The 24-year-old, who moved from Williams to partner Hamilton this season, said: “I’ve definitely noticed a change since joining Mercedes.

“Also because we’ve lived through this pandemic and we weren’t really going on the streets much or going out to dinner.

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, F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him

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, F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him

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“It was kind of like a bit of a slap in the face in terms of change.

“I feel like a normal guy. I appreciate what I do for a living is pretty spectacular.

“I am fortunate to do this but I don’t feel famous. I don’t think I’m famous.”

Apart from seven-time world champion Hamilton and reigning supremo Max Verstappen, Russell is probably the driver most fans will want to see at Silverstone.

He speaks with maturity and a Norfolk twang in his accent.

The King’s Lynn lad said: “Maybe other people will think differently. But I feel like George Russell.

“I still find it strange when  people recognise me in the street.

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“A couple of times we’ve had paparazzi, like on holiday, which is something I’ve never experienced.

“Also, a couple of times fans have followed us in the streets.

“Most of the time it’s with good intentions but, knowing you’re being followed, it’s a bit of an uncomfortable position — especially when I’m walking around with my girlfriend.

“It’s nice they support you. And without the fans, this sport, and all of us, are nothing —  but sometimes I do feel more comfortable just staying at home.

“I just live in a nice little flat in London, it’s spot on for what I need. But I find myself just going from my floor down to the gym.

, F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him

Mercedes star George Russell is still getting used to requests for photos from fans
, F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him
F1 driver George Russell and Carmen Montero Mundt relax at an NBA game

“And the only place I would ever go for dinner would be across the road to my local.

“Just because I feel more comfortable doing that.  It’s less of a palaver for me and my girlfriend. She works in finance in the City and is incredibly supportive.

“When we first met, she didn’t know who I was or anything about F1. We’ve been on this journey together. She’s the person I spend the most amount of time with.”

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Russell still  hopes the British GP can draw him into a title fight with Red Bull’s Verstappen.

He  is the only driver to make the top five of all nine races this year.
Podiums in Australia, Spain and Azerbaijan have him fourth overall, ahead of team-mate Hamilton.

But his form  has largely gone under the radar, especially given the bouncing issues with the Merc.

And Russell believes it is only a matter of time before his team finally unlock their potential.

, F1 star George Russell admits fame still does not sit right with him and ‘finds it strange’ when people recognise him
George Russell has 3.4milion followers on Instagram despite his reservations about life in the public eye

In an interview at Mercedes’ Brackley HQ, he told : “I am only 18 points from second place in the drivers’ championship.

“Max looks bulletproof but things shift awfully quick and if we find an upturn in performance and  Ferrari also find one, who knows?

“Suddenly it could be a Mercedes one-two, Ferrari in three-four and Red Bull five-six. If you get on a run of races like that, it soon shifts.

“We’re focused on one thing and that is making the car go as fast as possible. If we focus on that, then the results will come with it.”

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Asked if he was still in the title hunt, Russell added: “Absolutely and I see no reason why not.

“There’s a hell of a long way to go and a huge amount of development ongoing. I went to every single race for the last three years for  Williams thinking I could win it.

‘BIGGER PICTURE’

“You’ve got to believe it because if you don’t believe it, you’re defeated before you even start.”

Mercedes have won eight of the last nine British GPs and Russell says if they do it again he would not mind if it were him or Hamilton.

He added: “We both have eyes  on the top step of that podium.

“For now, I don’t really care if he’s ahead  and I don’t think he really cares if I’m ahead because there’s a bigger picture and we’re just trying to turn things around.

“But he’s been absolutely spot on, every single race. He’s always congratulated me if I’ve had a good result.

“There’s never been any hard  feelings, whatever the results or the outcome. He has nothing more to prove. He’s proven everything.” 

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Did you miss our previous article…
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