Russell the driver who has caught Andretti’s eye in 2021

Date published: October 3 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

George Russell celebrates. Belgium August 2021

Mario Andretti believes Williams’ George Russell can follow in his footsteps and become a Formula 1 World Champion.

Currently contesting his third and final season with the Williams team, Russell has this season taken his performance level to the highest standard yet, qualifying and finishing P2 in Belgium, his first Formula 1 podium, while scoring points in three further races.

And last time out at the Russian Grand Prix Russell was at it again with his ‘Mr.Saturday’ heroics, putting his Williams P3 on the grid.

His driving has earned the approval of many, including Andretti, who picked Russell as his 2021 standout and champion material for the future.

“Well, the one that impressed me, who has really shown that he can be a future champion, is George,” Andretti told RacingNews365.com.

“By having that opportunity in Bahrain [to stand in for Lewis Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir GP] and stepping up the way he did, and even with Williams, [for example] at Spa, with the conditions… rain is always a great equaliser and he showed his skills by doing what he did there.”

George Russell tugging his gloves. Italy September 2021

Show your support for Williams with their latest official merchandise collection

Of course 2021 is Russell’s final Williams season because for 2022 he will partner Hamilton at Mercedes.

Andretti believes that Mercedes will give Hamilton and Russell equal machinery for their inter-team battle, but naturally feels Mercedes will favour Hamilton over their protege Russell.

“That’s [something] to be looking forward to, how he will fare next to Lewis next year,” said Andretti.

“If Mercedes give freedom, which I think they already do, especially during the start of the season, it’s up to the individual driver to show what they can do and what they can bring to the team.

“I’m sure that Mercedes in some ways will always favour Lewis, and justifiably so, but at the same time I’m sure George will have the same equipment.

“I think you’ve just got to wait for those things to unfold. We’ll see what happens.”

 

PlanetF1 verdict