Formula 1
Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
42 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
Race in
56 days
09 May
Next event in
59 days
23 May
Race in
77 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
91 days
13 Jun
Race in
98 days
27 Jun
Race in
112 days
04 Jul
Next event in
115 days
18 Jul
Race in
133 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
147 days
29 Aug
Race in
175 days
05 Sep
Race in
182 days
12 Sep
Race in
189 days
26 Sep
Race in
203 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
206 days
10 Oct
Race in
216 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
231 days
31 Oct
Race in
238 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
258 days
R
Saudi Arabia GP
05 Dec
Race in
273 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
280 days

Russell replaces Hamilton at Mercedes for Sakhir GP

George Russell will replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix, paving the way for Jack Aitken to make his Formula 1 debut for Williams.

Russell replaces Hamilton at Mercedes for Sakhir GP

Russell will step in for Hamilton following the seven-time world champion’s positive test for COVID-19, with a deal being struck between Mercedes and Williams overnight.

Russell has been part of Mercedes’ junior programme since the end of 2016, but required allowance from Williams to make the move up to his parent team and deputise for Hamilton.

The agreement is in place for this weekend’s race at the Bahrain International Circuit, but could end up being extended to cover the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as well should Hamilton be unable to return.

It will give Russell - who won the Autosport BRDC Award back in 2014 - the opportunity to break his F1 points duck dating back to his debut with Williams at the start of the 2019 season, sampling the fastest car in the series’ 70-year history.

“First and foremost, I wish to thank our loyal partners at Williams for their collaboration and open-mindedness in making it possible for George to race for Mercedes this weekend,” said Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff.

“The conversations with the team at Williams were positive and pragmatic, and those were the key factors in reaching an agreement.

"It will not be a straightforward task for George to make the transition from the Williams to the W11, but he is race-ready and has detailed understanding of the 2020 tyres and how they perform on this generation of cars.

“We have a job to do this weekend, and the full focus of our sporting efforts will be behind Valtteri and George in order to maximise our points score as a team.”

Russell has impressed throughout his F1 career to date despite the limitations of the Williams car, with Hamilton recently praising his displays and calling him a potential future world champion.

Russell has long been linked with a possible move up to Mercedes, but is contracted at Williams until the end of the 2021 season.

This weekend’s race will give Mercedes the opportunity to see how Russell fares against full-time driver Valtteri Bottas, although his first run in the 2020-spec W11 car will only come on Friday in practice.

“Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everybody at Williams for giving me this opportunity,” said Russell. “I might be wearing a different race suit this weekend, but I’m a Williams driver and I’ll be cheering my team on every step of the way.

“I see this as a great chance to learn from the best outfit on the grid right now and to come back as an improved driver, with even more energy and experience to help push Williams further up the grid. A big thank you also to Mercedes for putting their faith in me.”

Read Also:

Russell’s seat at Williams has been taken by the team’s reserve driver, Jack Aitken, who was due to race in Formula 2 this weekend with Campos.

Aitken has previously tested F1 machinery for both Renault and Williams, and made an appearance in practice for the Styrian Grand Prix earlier this year.

Aitken holds a full F1 super licence thanks to his junior record, and will become the first driver of Korean heritage to make a grand prix start.

Aitken finished fifth in last year’s F2 championship, scoring three wins, and currently lies 14th in the standings with one round remaining this season.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to have the opportunity to make my debut with Williams this coming weekend and I am extremely happy for George to have his chance too,” Aitken said.

“I really mean it when I say I’ve felt very much at home here since I joined Williams earlier this year, so to get my chance to help the team try to achieve that elusive points finish is an extremely satisfying occasion to say the least.

“I’ll be doing all I can to prepare in the coming days, but truthfully, I feel like I have been ready since Melbourne.”

It will mark the first time since the 2001 Italian Grand Prix where two drivers have made their mid-season debut at the same race.

Pietro Fittipaldi will also make his first F1 start this weekend, stepping in for the injured Romain Grosjean at Haas.

shares
comments

Related video

Russell frontrunner to replace Hamilton at Mercedes

Previous article

Russell frontrunner to replace Hamilton at Mercedes

Next article

Grosjean discharged from hospital after treatment for burns

Grosjean discharged from hospital after treatment for burns
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Sakhir GP
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , George Russell
Teams Mercedes
Author Luke Smith
The updates Williams hopes will lead to a point-scoring return Prime

The updates Williams hopes will lead to a point-scoring return

After producing a car which demonstrated progress but lacked the points to prove it last year, Williams starts its new era of team ownership with the FW43B, its bid to continue the climb up the Formula 1 grid in 2021

Formula 1
Mar 5, 2021
How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare Prime

How Ferrari plans to recover from its 2020 F1 nightmare

The 2020 Formula 1 season was Ferrari's worst for 40 years as it slumped to sixth in the standings. A repeat performance will not be acceptable for the proud Italian team, which has adopted a notably pragmatic approach to forging its path back to the top

Formula 1
Mar 4, 2021
Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery Prime

Why Aston Martin’s arrival is more than just new green livery

In the most eagerly anticipated Formula 1 team launch of the season, the rebranded Aston Martin squad’s changes go much further than the striking paint job. But rather than a restart, the team hopes to build on top of solid foundations.

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with Prime

The car Aston Martin begins its new F1 journey with

The team formerly known as Racing Point gambled successfully on a Mercedes look-alike in 2020 as it mounted a strong challenge for third in the constructors' race and won the Sakhir GP. Now clothed in British racing green, Aston Martin's first Formula 1 challenger since 1960 provides the clearest indicator yet of what to expect from the new-for-2021 regulations

Formula 1
Mar 3, 2021
The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021 Prime

The tricky driver conundrums facing Mercedes in F1 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Prime

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021...

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Prime

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Prime

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new teammate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021