David Coulthard feels George Russell’s “strong talent” and Mercedes ties ensure that the future is bright for the 21-year-old.
Russell was the only Formula 1 driver on the 2019 grid not to score a single World Championship point, but that was certainly no reflection on what actually was a strong rookie year for the 2018 Formula 2 champion.
The British driver consistently got the better of now former team-mate Robert Kubica and showed maturity beyond his years in handling a very difficult year for the Williams team.
As Russell prepares for his second year at the Grove-based outfit, Coulthard feels Russell is still managing to shine despite all of Williams’ continued problems.
“I think he’s a great talent who is cutting his teeth in Formula 1 largely off screen,” Coulthard said at the Autosport International Show.
“He’s too good that he doesn’t even crash to get himself on television.
“His talent is so strong that, with his relationship with Mercedes, I think it will be fine.
“He, against Robert Kubica who came back from that terrible rallying accident, had a benchmark driver in terms of speed, and George showed consistently that the key thing was being able to qualify.
“He just showed time and time again that, irrespective of the car, when the pressure was on to deliver a lap time, he was able to do that.
“I have absolutely no doubt that, being a little bit out of the spotlight was just really giving him a little bit of time to understand Formula 1.”
Coulthard is also confident that Russell will go on to show that he has the physical and mental capacity to challenge when the more competitive seasons do eventually come his way.
“He’s a young man right now and there’s no question that in a few years’ time he’ll be more able physically and mentally to take on the challenge of a competitive Formula One season,” Coulthard added.
“I think that’s something that we tend to underestimate on a lot of occasions, managing the fatigue that comes across a long season when you’re in a championship battle.
“And I think that is where Lewis [Hamilton] has been so strong relative to his teammates.”