Dec, 4th 2020 -George Russell says he is under “no pressure” as he prepares to race Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix. Hamilton has had to miss the race because he tested positive for coronavirus and Mercedes negotiated a temporary release for Russell from his Williams team.
Russell, who rejected the idea that it was an audition for a Mercedes seat in 2022, said: “There have been no targets expected from Mercedes because you can’t judge someone. on a race.”
His teammate Valtteri Bottas’s contract lasts until the end of the next season and many F1 will see Russel driving to Bahrain this weekend. If Hamilton doesn’t recover on time, he will drive to Abu Dhabi the following week.
Russel said, “It’s not on my mind. I’m going to go out there, enjoy it and learn as much as I can.” He added, “I have a job to do when I come back to Williams and try to move this team forward. I have to seize this opportunity with both hands and maximize the learning. The future will be judged over the course of a season, and what has happened in the past, not just one or maybe two races.”
Bottas on the other hand admitted that, “If he beats me I sure wouldn’t look so good if I had a normal fair and square run so I try to avoid that. But I’m not a thinking person like that, I’m trying to turn things into motivation and positive thinking and that’s my state of mind for this weekend.”
Russel has noted that he is facing a difficult task this weekend. He has been a Mercedes driver in 2017 and 2018 and completed just over 6,500 km of testing for the team but didn’t get to drive the team’s stimulator.
The 22 year old said, “I’m thrown out at the last chance. I haven’t driven their simulator for two years. My seat is three years old. I have so much information to learn and facing Valtteri won’t be easy. Valtteri has taken Lewis to an incredible level over the years.”
“When you’re in the groove, integrated into a team, I know the level where I was at Williams. By suddenly changing, there is so much new to learn. I have no expectations, no goals. This weekend will be devoted to learning, in particular Friday. If I get the chance next week in Abu Dhabi, who knows, it will be easier,”