Tuesday, August 31, 2021
“Master” Russell on the rise
The next F1 superstar is putting a lot of pressure on
Verstappen against Hamilton? The most exciting event in Formula 1 is called George Russell. The 23-year-old Williams driver is convincing despite the slow car and will probably replace Bottas in the Mercedes next year. There, and also at the top of Formula 1, he could shake the balance of power.
He is now called “Master George” by the English boulevard, and there is also something quite elegant about this young racing driver. George Russell stands out in the Formula 1 paddock, with an upright gait and polite tones. However, he earned his nickname with his performance in the cockpit.
“Extraordinary” and “unbelievable” is what Russell is currently doing in the defeated Williams, says his German team boss Jost Capito. This is definitely worth pointing out, because Russell’s appearance was almost drowned out in the continuous rain and the excitement of Spa.
On a wet track, he raced to second place on the grid in qualifying last Saturday, and was also faster than world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes. The flooded Grand Prix was then not a real one, so after three laps behind the safety car, the 23-year-old’s first podium was determined in Formula 1.
Mercedes has been on Russell for a long time
“That’s not how I imagined this premiere,” said Russell later, but he can comfort himself: there will probably be many, many more to come. Because the result in Spa was not a coincidence, nor was it a sudden explosion in performance. But the logical consequence of a structured ascent.
Russell was only just 16 when he spoke to Mercedes Motorsport Director Toto Wolff at his own request and gave a Power Point presentation explaining why he should one day be a Silver Arrow driver. The boss was impressed and brought him into the Mercedes junior squad, in which Russell is promoted to this day.
In the coming year, nobody doubts that, Russell will join the works team, replace Valtteri Bottas and drive alongside Hamilton. From a sporting point of view, that makes sense for Mercedes, and the series world champions simply can no longer afford to keep Russell waiting. Even the competition noticed.
“George is very fast, he can’t stay where he is now,” said Red Bull star Max Verstappen. Because Russell does something that has become rare due to the large differences between the front, midfield and back of the field: He makes the difference.
He regularly drives the Williams, a car that is quite far behind, into the top ten. Wolff sees that too, of course. “We know what we have in him,” says the Austrian: “George was already exceptional in the junior series, and now he drives exceptional for Williams.” At some point in the coming weeks, promotion to the works team should become official, which is an exciting story for Formula 1.
Because Russell can be trusted to shake the balance of power at Mercedes and thus those at the top of Formula 1. Since 2016, since Nico Rosberg’s World Cup victory, Hamilton has not had a teammate who could really challenge him. The 36-year-old should get one in the coming season. And Verstappen recently also has a winning car at Red Bull. The year 2022 could be an exciting one.