2018 Formula 2 champion George Russell stepped up to F1 in 2019 with the Williams team. Despite not having competitive machinery, the Brit still finds ways to impress – and his one-off appearance with Mercedes in 2020 proved his star potential.
|Full Name||George Russell|
|Date of Birth||15th February 1998|
|First Race||2019 Australian Grand Prix|
Born in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, George Russell’s racing career began in 2006, progressing through the national karting championships, culminating in being crowned Super One British champion in 2010. From there, Russell moved into European championships, winning the CIK-FIA European Championship twice, in 2012 and 2013.
Making his single-seater debut in 2014, Russell competed in the Formula 4 Championship, taking the title in his maiden season. His progression through the ranks was backed up by podium finishes in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps series, and a victory in a guest appearance at Jerez in the Formula Renault Eurocup, all of which contributed to him winning the McLaren BRDC Autosport Award at the end of the year.
Russell took the next step on the junior ladder in 2015 as he moved to Formula 3. The Brit impressed in his first season, with a win on his debut weekend in the series and further podium finishes through the season. The following year, he took ten podium finishes and two wins, finishing third overall in the final standings. After an impressive appearance at the legendary Macau Grand Prix, in which he took pole position, Russell joined the Mercedes junior programme at the start of 2017.
With Mercedes backing, Russell entered the GP3 series in 2017, taking four wins and seven podium finishes on his way to winning the championship at the penultimate round of the season. After making his maiden appearances in F1, driving for Force India in Free Practice 1 in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, Russell moved to F2 in 2018.
Competing with ART, Russell took seven race wins and made eleven podium appearances, finishing in the points in all but three of the 21 races which he completed. He was announced as a Williams driver for Williams in 2019, just before sealing the F2 title at the final round of the year.
RUSSELL IN 2019
Despite his uncompetitive machinery, George Russell proved to be one of the stars of the 2019 season. Nothing more could have been expected of the reigning F2 champion in his rookie season, given his car’s performance. Although his team-mate Robert Kubica scored the team’s only point of the season at Hockenheim, it’s arguable that Russell should have scored that point, but for a strategic error and a mistake on track. Ironically, the German Grand Prix was one of only two races in which Kubica finished ahead of Russell.
Nevertheless, it was Russell’s performances against Kubica in qualifying which were particularly impressive. He beat Kubica 21-0 on Saturdays in 2019, with a massive average gap of over three tenths per sector in qualifying. His most impressive performance was at Hungary, where he nearly dragged the FW42 into Q2. Read more: George Russell’s 2019 Season In Stats.
RUSSELL IN 2020
At the end of 2020, George Russell remained yet to score a point for Williams. He came close to doing so, before crashing out under Safety Car conditions at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – a rare low moment in a season of strong performances. Russell is still yet to be out-qualified by a Williams team-mate. The team’s car may have been a little too far off the pace to score in 2020, but Russell still had plenty of opportunities to impress. He got his Williams car into Q2 on no less than nine occasions in 2020 – something which his team-mate did only once. On average, Russell was faster than his team-mate by over three tenths per sector – the largest advantage for any driver over the season.
With Lewis Hamilton contracting coronavirus, Mercedes turned to Russell to fill the empty seat. Impressively, Russell qualified within three hundredths of Valtteri Bottas and took the lead on the opening lap. He led comfortably, until a pit stop disaster for Mercedes, which saw both drivers finish down the order. Nevertheless, Russell scored the first points of his career and proved that he would be ready to step up to a top team. Read more: George Russell’s 2020 Season In Stats.
Despite some media speculation over Williams’ driver line-up following the team’s change of ownership, Russell’s future at the team was confirmed in October. If Russell continues his stellar performances, it may well be his final year with the team before Mercedes take on his services on a more permanent basis.
GEORGE RUSSELL’S F1 RECORD
|Year||Team||Final Position||Points Scored||Wins||Poles||Podiums|
|2020||Williams / Mercedes||18th||3||0||0||0|