Russell: Leclerc’s form is ‘a showcase’


George Russell feels Charles Leclerc impressive debut campaign in Formula 1 is great for the youngsters such as himself wanting to come through the ranks.

Leclerc won the Formula 2 title last season before stepping up into Formula 1 with Sauber.

Such has been his form, and points-scoring prowess in a car that many would argue is not a top-ten machine, that he is already being linked to a promotion to Ferrari next season.

But he’s not the only driver who could ultimately benefit from his impressive form.

“I think times are changing slightly, you have the likes of Verstappen, Ocon and Leclerc going into F1,” F2 series leader Russell told Autosport.

“These guys can come in and challenge the experienced drivers in the field.

“I think what Charles is doing now is a great example of how competitive some junior series are. He won GP3 and then F2, and I won GP3 last year and currently leading F2.

“From my personal selling point of view lets say, there’s a very good example in Charles to show what he’s capable of and what we’re doing this year.”

He is hoping that his recent F2 results, including a win in Austria, could see Mercedes work towards getting him a race seat for next season.

In fact, Russell reckons he’s even ready to race in Formula 1 as early as this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

“If an opportunity arose with anybody at Silverstone this weekend, I’d feel ready, prepared. I’ve done extensive simulator work with Mercedes over the past two years really,” he said.

“I’ve done a number of days testing now with Mercedes and Force India and I feel confident that I can live up to the challenge.

“I know they believe there is potential with me or they wouldn’t have taken me on as a junior driver otherwise. I think they believe in me.

“Now we’re at the highest level of junior motorsport, it’s the best young drivers in the world, it’s definitely putting pressure on the guys who are managing my situation to hopefully find something for me next season.”

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