George Russell is doing all he can in his rookie Formula 1 season driving for an extremely slow Williams team to prove his worth.
With how slow ROKiT Williams Racing have been through the first four races of the 21-race 2019 Formula 1 season, it would be shocking if either one of their drivers, George Russell or Robert Kubica, manages to score points by finishing a race in the top 10 this season.
In fact, it would be shocking if either one of their drivers manages to finish ahead of another non-Williams driver in any races through the rest of the season, aside of the drivers who are forced to retire from races. Through the season’s first four races, this has not yet taken place.
But despite the fact that this is the case, Russell is doing everything he can possibly do to prove his worth in Formula 1 and to put himself in the discussion to be promoted to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport at some point within the next few seasons.
Back in late 2017, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton commented on the possibility of Russell, who is a Mercedes junior driver, replacing him at the Silver Arrows ahead of the 2021 season. Here is what he had to say about the matter, according to ESPN.
"“While the car is in this form of rules until 2021 at least, I think that’s going to be the window I’m still here. Who knows? Maybe in 2021 I’ll hand the baton over to [Mercedes junior] George [Russell]. He’ll be there anyway before then. I’m going to keep going.”"
As far as Russell’s likelihood of receiving a promotion to the Brackley-based team, it certainly hasn’t decreased given how he has performed so far in his rookie season. If anything, it has increased.
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On paper, Russell’s performances so far this season appear to be lackluster. But in the reality, given the fact that Williams are by far and away the slowest of the sport’s 10 teams with very little chance of giving him anything more than the opportunity to beat his teammate, he could not possibly be doing a better job.
The 2017 GP3 Series champion and 2018 Formula 2 champion has outqualified and outperformed his teammate through each of the season’s first four races. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen is the only other driver who can say this.
The 21-year-old Briton qualified in 19th, 19th, 17th and 19th place and finished in 16th, 15th, 16th and 15th in the Australian Grand Prix, the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Chinese Grand Prix, and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, respectively. He finished two laps off the lead lap in each of these races except for the Bahrain Grand Prix, which he finished as the final driver one lap off the lead lap.
Kubica, meanwhile, qualified in 20th, 20th, 18th and 20th place and finished in 17th, 16th, 17th and 16th in the Australian Grand Prix, the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Chinese Grand Prix, and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, respectively. He finished three laps off the lead lap in the Australian Grand Prix and two laps off the lead lap in the other two races.
While it is entirely possible that Williams’ two cars may not be on the exact same level performance-wise given just how far the team as a whole are off the pace and there have been instances so far this season where Kubica’s car has experienced some odd issues, this should in no way be used as a knock against Russell.
First of all, it isn’t like Russell is driving for a superior team compared to Kubica, and secondly, it certainly does not change the fact that Russell has gotten the absolute most out of his car and is doing everything he possibly can to prove why he belongs in Formula 1 and why he deserves the opportunity to be promoted to Mercedes within the next few seasons.
Will George Russell ended up being promoted to Mercedes within the next few Formula 1 season? That remains to be seen, but his chances of receiving such a promotion have certainly not taken a hit through the first four races of his rookie season despite what the raw statistics might illustrate.