Williams driver George Russell has again downplayed his chances of being promoted to a Mercedes race seat for the 2020 season, saying his “really good performance” in Hungary is unlikely to influence the decision by the powers that be.
The rookie produced his best display in qualifying to date as he missed out on Q2 by the narrowest of margins of 0.053s as he started P16. He ended up finishing the same position at the Hungaroring.
With the Silver Arrows confirming that they are yet to decide whether or not they will retain Valtteri Bottas for the 2020 campaign, Russell’s showing came at a good time.
However, Merc team boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the 21-year-old is unlikely to be promoted as they “don’t want to burn him out” and when asked if his performance was a timely reminder, Russell is quoted as saying by Crash.net: “I’ve already reminded him [Toto Wolff]. I always speak to the guys at Mercedes and Toto regardless of the performance.
“Like Valtteri said, if he had a good or bad weekend here in Hungary that’s not going to decide his future.
“The fact that we had a really good performance… It might help, it’s not going to hurt at all, but it’s not going to sway Mercedes’ decision.”
Russell was also heartened by Williams’ performance as a whole in Hungary, but he also wants the team to prove that it was not a one-off.
“It was definitely the best weekend of the year,” he said. “Qualifying exceeded all expectations and exceeded the reality.
“We absolutely maximised our single lap whereas the other teams made some errors. You saw the mess with [Sergio] Perez and [Daniel] Ricciardo.
“I think today [the race] was more of the reality. We made a step but we’re still quite far from the rest.
“But if we continue at this rate, and we should be able to continue at this rate, we should be in the mix more often.
“We’ve done two weekends with the updates. Last weekend was an absolute disaster, this weekend was very positive.
“We need to see if this weekend was a one-off or not.”