George Russell has made his presence known in Formula One since joining Williams back in 2019 at the age of just 20 years old, often speaking out about how he believes change is on the horizon for the team.
Now in his final year of his contract at the Oxford-based setup, the Brit has been reflective on his time there, and what his future in Formula One may look like.
Russell, a Mercedes Junior driver, had one of the biggest opportunities of his career, after being thrown into a Mercedes with only a few days notice at the Sakhir Grand Prix, to battle it out at the point-scoring end of the grid, as Lewis Hamilton was recovering from COVID-19.
Partnered alongside Valtteri Bottas, 31, Russell caught everyone’s attention with his impressive form over the weekend, which, by no fault of his own, saw a race win snatched away from him due to a Mercedes pit-stop tyre blunder.
George Russell questions how would Lewis Hamilton do at Williams
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He explained: “That was probably the steepest challenge I’ve had in my career.
“We all have tough seasons, we all have challenging seasons, where a championship or race may go down to the wire, but it’s very rare you have a time when you get thrown into a completely different car, different atmosphere, different engineers in the penultimate race of the season, going up against a guy who’s been in that car for the last four years, who’s had 16 races of experience in that car, with his engineers, setup, and being expected to be fighting against him, having had only a day of preparation.
“I think regardless of what happens in the future, I’ll look back on that race and think we did a pretty decent job in the circumstances, and it was a good performance.
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Williams have a huge overhaul heading into the 2021 season, after the Williams family stepped away from the team at the end of the last season, with financial backing coming from new owners Dorilton Capital, ensuring their safety in Formula One for a bit longer.
Given another year of development, a new CEO in Jost Capito – plus 2009 world champion Jenson giving the team advice, there’s a positive feel to Williams’ future, who have been bottom of the Constructor’s standings for three years on the bounce.
Russell continued: “Ultimately in Formula One, Rome isn’t built in a day. Things take a lot of time to change the course of the ship.
“The future looks bright for the team, with the arrival of Jost [Capito] at the helm now, the financial backing from Dorilton is really strong, the decisions that have already been taken are the right decisions and it all looks very promising.
“Equally, the foundations of this year’s cars are exactly the same as last years car, due to the regulations, so we do think we’ve made a step forward, we’re not certainly going to be in the points week in, week out, but next year is the real test for the team, and I’d be quite confident in saying Williams will not be last in 2022 and beyond.”
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