Norris happy Russell has chance to fight

Date published: July 24 2020

Lando Norris' call-up to McLaren helped Russell get in at Williams.

Lando Norris says he’s happy to see compatriot George Russell given a car that allows him to join the midfield fight.

As Williams were so far off the pace last year, Russell spent his rookie season at the back of the grid, rarely able to get near any other cars on Saturday nor Sunday.

That hasn’t been the case in 2020. In fact, the car’s pace has improved so much that he’s made it to Q2 in two of the three races and has only been a few tenths away from Q3.

Norris, who has had no such struggles at McLaren, says he’s happy that Russell can now start to fight.

“I’m definitely happy for him, that he’s at least having a chance to be able to race with some people,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I felt sorry for him last year because he’s a nice guy, I get along well with him. He’s a very good driver. So where Williams was last season, it’s just disappointing to see him in that position.

“Williams in pre-season testing already made a big jump, and they looked pretty competitive from the off. They weren’t that far off of what we could do, so we were always expecting them to be quite quick.

“In all of our calculations we will expect them to be a competitor and people that could knock us out come Q2 or Q3, even. He obviously did a good job anyway.”

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Despite still waiting for his first points in F1, Russell has received huge praise for his qualifying performances this year. So much so that many feel Mercedes is making a mistake by not promoting him for next season.

However, he is up against a rookie in Nicholas Latifi, and Norris feels that this makes it hard to judge just how good he has been.

“He is going up against a driver who’s still in the second or third race in F1,” he added.

“It’s hard to really compare and know how good he’s doing. He’s not going up against a driver who’s been in F1 for four years or five years.

“So yeah, I guess that’s the only thing that’s hard to say how good of a job he’s doing. But at the same time, it’s good to see that he’s up there, and Williams is back, competing for positions.”

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