‘Like Hamilton, Russell wasn’t gifted a racing career’

Date published: April 24 2020 - Michelle Foster

George Russell

Claire Williams “firmly believes” George Russell will one day win a F1 World titles, she only hopes it is with Williams.

However, the deputy team boss concedes she is likely to lose him to Mercedes in the coming years.

Russell entered Formula 1 last season with Williams with the Mercedes young driver the only one on the grid not to score a single point.

That, though, had nothing to do with Russell’s performances and everything to do with the Williams F1 car.

The car was lacking in pace with the Brit spending most of his debut season qualifying on the final row of the grid, but always ahead of his team-mate Robert Kubica.

Russell whitewashed the Polish driver, although it was Kubica who claimed Williams’ only point of the championship.

Despite the Brit’s point-less start to his Formula 1 career, Williams is adamant Russell will one day lift the Drivers’ Championship trophy.

She the PA news agency: “George has a very clear ambition. He wants to be a F1 world champion, and I firmly believe he will.

“George is such an instrumental part of this team, and I want to give him a car so he doesn’t look elsewhere.

“He has a long-term contract with us and I would expect to see him in a Williams car until that contract expires.

“But Mercedes is Mercedes, and I never want to stand in the way of giving a driver a great opportunity, if our team is not in a competitive position.”

Russell will continue with Williams in 2020 with the 2018 Formula 2 Champ also on the books for 2021, unless Mercedes call him up.

Williams was full of praise for the 22-year-old Brit, saying like Lewis Hamilton he was never “gifted” a racing career.

And that, Williams reckons, makes a driver even hungrier for success.

“George has the whole package,” she said. “He looks like an unassuming, nice guy, but he has a layer of steel within him which he has been taught by his parents.

“He hasn’t had a silver motor racing spoon in his mouth since he was born. He hasn’t had it easy, and the family haven’t had it easy to get him to this point either.

“He is fairly similar to Lewis Hamilton in that sense. When you don’t have it gifted to you, it makes you hungry, it makes you fight. That brings a certain edge to a driver, but George also understands that it doesn’t just take a natural talent to achieve that.

“He can always learn, always grow and build. He is only 22 and he has a very long career ahead of him in this sport.”

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