‘Nothing Mercedes could do, Williams wouldn’t let go’

Michelle Foster
George Russell Williams.jpg

Confirmed by Williams for 2021, George Russell says there was “nothing” Mercedes could do as Williams “wasn’t ready” to let him go.

Russell, a Mercedes junior driver, entered Formula 1 in 2019 with Williams having signed a three-year deal with the Grove team.

Although the Brit didn’t score a single point in his debut campaign, he impressed many in the paddock including Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.

Wolff, though, opted to retain Valtteri Bottas for the 2020 season with Russell spending a second year with Williams.

Get your hands on the official George Russell 2020 collection via the Formula 1 store

The Brit, though, had hoped to step up come 2021.

“Mercedes don’t have the junior programme for no reason,” Russell told Sky F1 back in May.

“Likewise Red Bull and Ferrari. The whole goal is to try and develop a driver and bring them through into the main team.

“Obviously it’s a lot about timing as well, there’s only two seats per team and at Mercedes, you’ve obviously got Lewis doing the business and he and Valtteri have been a great pairing for the last couple of years, winning the championship.

“So there must be part of them thinking why do we need to change.”

It does, however, look as if Mercedes was considering it.

With reports claiming that it is only a matter of time before Bottas puts pen to paper on a new one-year extension, Williams confirmed Russell for 2021.

Asked whether he was ‘disappointed’ by Mercedes’ decision to stick with its Finnish driver, Russell says no, Mercedes couldn’t do anything more to get him out of his Williams deal.

“No, I’m not disappointed in Mercedes at all,” the Brit told ESPN.

“There was nothing more they could do.

“Claire was very firm in her decision in that she wasn’t ready to let me go and as I have a contract with Williams I have to respect that decision.”

Russell, though, isn’t giving up on the prospect of joining Mercedes in 2022.

“I’m here, I’ll be giving everything I’ve got for this year and into next year,” he added.

“Let’s see what the future holds after that.”

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