One of Formula 1’s most promising young talents, George Russell (currently racing for Williams), will get the chance to drive the best car on the grid when he fills in for Lewis Hamilton at this weekend’s Sakhir GP. Hamilton was diagnosed with COVID-19 yesterday and has gone into isolation.
In order to compete for Mercedes, Russell had to be released by Williams temporarily.
He will become just the fifth driver to race for Mercedes-AMG Petronas since 2010, and the third Briton to represent the team after Sir Stirling Moss and of course, Hamilton himself.
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Russell has been a member of the Mercedes Junior Program since 2017 and has already tested for the championship-winning outfit on several occasions in the past, so he probably knows what to expect, at least to some extent.
“First and foremost, I wish to thank our loyal partners at Williams for their collaboration and open-mindedness in making it possible for George to race for Mercedes this weekend. The conversations with the team at Williams were positive and pragmatic, and those were the key factors in reaching an agreement,” said team principal and CEO, Toto Wolff.
“It will not be a straightforward task for George to make the transition from the Williams to the W11, but he is race-ready and has detailed understanding of the 2020 tyres and how they perform on this generation of cars. George has shown impressive form this year with Williams, playing an instrumental role in their climb up the grid, and I am optimistic that he will deliver a strong performance alongside Valtteri, who will be a demanding reference for him.”
As for us fans, it will be fascinating to see what someone else can do inside Hamilton’s Mercedes, especially someone who has already performed very well this year, despite the limitations of his current car.