How Russell left Mercedes no real choice over his F1 promotion
OPINION: George Russell has got the Mercedes promotion he has long desired. Here’s how and why Formula 1’s leading team has decided to give him a shot as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate from 2022 and just maybe the chance to lead its future championship charges
"Brave, but sensible. Quick, calm – just a really good, professional, brilliant lap."
That's how Williams' head of vehicle performance, Dave Robson, summed up George Russell's sensational lap to qualify second for the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix. Russell's against-the-clock, wet-weather heroics would of course go to seal his first F1 career podium in the controversial abandoned race that followed.
But it was an important moment in a young, burgeoning superstar driver's career. And Robson's words are worth listening to. Not only is he an eloquent and helpful engineer, he worked alongside two of F1's established superstars – as Jenson Button's race engineer at McLaren from 2010-2014, after previously working his way up in the previous decade and therefore covering Lewis Hamilton's formative years with the squad. So, it's particularly interesting that he says Russell is also someone worth listening to.
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