King's Lynn-born racer Russell gets Mercedes race chance
Lynn-born racer George Russell will drive a champion’s car this weekend after he was named as Lewis Hamilton’s replacement in the Mercedes team for the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain.
The 22-year-old will stand in for the world champion after he was forced to withdraw following a positive coronavirus test.
Speaking on the website of his usual Williams team, Russell said today: “Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everybody at Williams for giving me this opportunity.
“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.
“Obviously, nobody can replace Lewis, but I’ll give my all for the team in his absence from the moment I step in the car. Most importantly, I wish him a speedy recovery. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and can’t wait to get out on track this week.”
Williams’ acting team principal Simon Roberts said: “Our long-term partnership and George’s affiliation with Mercedes is no secret, and so I’m delighted George has this unique opportunity to join Mercedes.
“We have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes to allow him this fantastic opportunity.
“George very much remains a Williams driver and we look forward to him returning to us fresh from this experience and wish him a successful race this weekend.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff thanked Williams, where Russell has raced for the past two seasons, for their co-operation in enabling him to make the temporary switch.
He said: “The conversations with the team at Williams were positive and pragmatic, and those were the key factors in reaching an agreement.”
Reserve driver Jack Aitken will step in for Russell in the Williams.