Russell: It could be Leclerc/Sainz for seven years

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz expects to be playing "catch-up" to Charles Leclerc in early 2021.

George Russell expects Ferrari’s upcoming driver partnership of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to stay for up to “seven years”.

Sebastian Vettel will walk away from Ferrari at the end of 2020, and the Scuderia moved quick to name Sainz as his replacement.

And Russell feels Ferrari have a pairing there that will be around for a long time, similar to Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

“It all made sense [to me],” Russell told RTL.

“In any industry, you have to start looking towards the future. Now in Ferrari you have Charles who obviously is doing an amazing job and he will continue to do so in the years that will come.

“And now they have Carlos alongside him. That is a team that will probably have the same two drivers for probably five, six, seven years to come. You look back at Ferrari with Schumacher and Barrichello, the same two drivers for so long.

“Lewis and Nico obviously in 2014, Mercedes had a fantastic car and engine, but they just got stronger and stronger but I am sure it’s because the consistency has helped a lot.”

Russell’s own future could take a drastic upturn for next year if a Mercedes seat becomes available.

Both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton are out of contract at the end of 2020, and the team have spoke of wanting to look after their own drivers before looking outside, which is music to the ears of the team’s junior driver Russell.

And the Briton reiterated that he, just like any other driver, wouldn’t turn down a Mercedes seat.

“I have been a Mercedes driver for four years now. They helped all of my development, when in GP3, F2 and helped me into F1. They are like a family to me,” he explained.

“It’s no secret that every driver wants the opportunity to win races, to win championships.

“I said it before, if a Mercedes seat was available, I don’t think any driver would turn it down. They are the best team. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity?”

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