Russell couldn’t leave Williams earlier: ‘There was no other choice’

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George Russell feels that the three years he has spent at Williams have been too much. The 23-year-old driver will drive as a teammate alongside Lewis Hamilton in 2022. Still, the new Mercedes driver thinks that after two years of experience at Williams he was already ready to take a step to a higher team.

“You’re always learning,” Russell tells Motorsport-Magazin, looking back on his time at Williams. “Your natural speed is what it is. It doesn’t get any better there.’ Still, Russell says he has learned from his time at Williams. ‘How do I get more out of my technicians? How can I fine-tune the car? How do I manage the tires on a cold day in Brazil?’

Russell: ‘I am a better driver today than then’

Although Russell has learned a lot during his time with the British team, he feels that three years has been too long. According to the British driver, he could have driven at Mercedes after two years. “I’m a better driver today than I was then, but I still think two years would have been perfect. This year I would have been more than ready to grow,” said the Mercedes driver.

Russell showed his qualities before

Russell already showed that he could handle the Mercedes car when he replaced Mercedes during the Grand Prix of Sakhir in 2020. Hamilton was infected with the corona virus at the time and was therefore unable to participate in the race. Russell was his replacement. The 23-year-old Briton almost took pole position and also did well during the race. He seemed to be on his way to a win for a long time, but a bad pit stop squandered the chance. So it makes sense that Russell has a lot of confidence in himself after the Sakhir race.

Yet he has been with Williams for three years and last season he also showed how much quality he has. For example, it was impressive when he managed to get his car in second place during qualifying in Belgium. He also performed well in Russia during qualifying. He then put his car on P3. So a year earlier to Mercedes might have been possible earlier, but the contract with Williams did not allow it. “We had signed for three years, so there was no other choice,” Russell concludes.

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