Russell was ‘coughing every lap’ on ‘pretty miserable’ run to P3

George Russell has opened up on the illness he was battling over the last two races of the 2023 F1 season. 
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Russell finished third on the podium in Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to help Mercedes secure second place in the constructors’ championship ahead of Ferrari. 

The Briton revealed earlier in the Abu Dhabi weekend that he had been struggling with illness for the past two weeks.

“Firstly, in Vegas with a big fever, I couldn't sleep and just felt awful,” Russell explained in the post-race press conference. 

“Then I've had a horrendous cough that stayed with me all week and in the car. I was coughing every single lap but when you're strapped into the car, you can't breathe. 

“You can't take a deep breath in to get the cough out. So, it was just constantly with me. It was pretty miserable. So, I was pleased to bring it home when I saw that chequered flag.” 

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his third position in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates his third position in parc…

2023 featured 22 races and next year’s calendar will be F1’s longest-ever season with 24 grands prix. 

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who was also ill over the Abu Dhabi weekend, said the body is “not designed” for 24 races a year. 

Asked how much he thinks F1 needs to consider the wellbeing of everyone in the paddock, Russell replied: “I think the drivers, we have it best from every single person in this paddock, the way we travel. We're in a very fortunate position. 

“But everybody up and down the paddock - I've got so many mechanics who are ill, people in the engineers’ office, just really struggling with the constant time zone shifts. 

“The body not knowing where you are, eating at different times, staying in different hotels, different environments, different climates. 

“The body's getting confused. I think there are talks for next year about personnel being regulated that they can't do every single race. I think that would be a good thing. 

“I don't think it's sustainable to 4,000 people, I think it is, to do 24 races a season, especially when you see how geographically it still doesn't make a huge amount of sense.”

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