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George Russell (racing driver)

George Russell (racing driver)

George Russell is a British racing driver, competing in the Formula 1 series for Mercedes.

Overview

George Russell is a British-born racing driver who joined Formula 1 in 2019 to drive for Williams Racing after previously driving in karting, Formula Renault 2.0, Formula 4, Formula 3, GP3, and FIA Formula 2 series. In 2017, George Russell was the GP3 Series Champion and he was the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Champion driving for ART. Following this, Russell signed for Williams Racing in 2019 to join Formula 1.

Karting and early racing career
George Russell driving in karting series.

George Russell began racing in karting in 2006; he showed his talent from a young age, winning the MSA British Cadet Championship and the British Open in 2009. In 2014, the young driver was graduated to single seaters and in his first year he won the BRDC Formula 4 Championship and the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. These awards earned Russell a GP3 Series test and a test drive with McLaren Racing in a Formula 1 car.

Following the Formula 4 championship, Russell moved into the Formula 3 European Championship for 2015. The first season in Formula 3 saw Russell drive for Carlin Motorsport. He won the opening race of the season but would miss out on the title to Charles Leclerc. Russell stayed in Formula 3 for 2016, switching to Hitech GP for the season, and scoring two victories to a third place finish in the standings.

GP3
George Russell driving the ART car in GP3.

In 2017, George Russell was announced as an addition to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport line-up as part of the Formula 1 teams Junior Driver Programme. This created some expectations for the young driver in his first GP3 Series season. He raced for ART Grand Prix and was able to meet expectations, taking four victories, seven podiums, and four pole positions to win the Driver's championship with two races left in the season. For this effort, Russell was awarded a pair of Formula 1 Practice drives with Sahara Force India Team, in which he was able to impress.

George Russell driving the Sahara Force India Formula 1 car.
Formula 2

In January 2018, Russell was confirmed as a driver for ART Grand Prix for the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship. Russell was further confirmed as the reserve driver for the Formula 1 Mercedes-AMG Pertronas Motorsport. Russell started strong in 2018, claiming victory in his fourth start, and promptly launching a campaign to become Champion, which he would do, taking the championship from rival Alexander Albon, who was the favorite to win prior to the season starting.

George Russell driving for the 2019 William Racing F1 team.
Formula 1
Williams Racing

It was announced in December 2018 that Russell would get his chance at Formula 1 racing with the Williams Racing team. His debut in Formula 1 was hampered by Williams struggles, which began before the season began with the team unable to complete their new car in time for the start of the 2018 season. This meant Russell and his 2019 teammate Robert Kubica missed testing time, and once the season started it became clear that the Williams FW42 was uncompetitive. Despite these struggles, Russell was still able to distinguish himself with strong single-lap pace and he out-qualified his teammate Kubica at every round.

2020
George Russell driving the Williams Racing FW43.

In 2020, Russell continued racing for Williams Racing. The team looked to take a step forward in the development of their chassis, and Nicholas Latifi was added as a new teammate for Russell, replacing Robert Kubica. This season was abruptly postponed during the lockdowns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic before Formula 1 was able to put together a series of races to keep the championship going. This season saw Russell continue to get the most out of his relatively uncompetitive Williams chassis, with multiple appearances in the second round of qualifying, although still failing to score any points through the season.

George Russell after passing Valtteri Bottas to take first place in his first drive for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.

However, the closest Russell would come to scoring a point came during his appointment to Mercedes-AMG Petronas, when he replaced World Champion Lewis Hamilton while the latter dealt with a positive COVID-19 infection and was unable to compete. This drive saw Russell use an old racing seat, which are molded to the driver's body, and boots that were too small. Despite a lack of preparation in the car and relatively low expectations, Russell went on to qualify second only 0.026 second behind Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas. He further caused a stir by passing Bottas on the opening lap and led much of the race before a pit stop error by the Mercedes team and a subsequent tire puncture stole a points finish from Russell.

2021
Russell driving the FW43B in 2022.

Following his relief drive for Mercedes in 2020, there was an expectation and there were rumors that George Russell might get a drive for the following 2021 season with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas team, but these were quickly put to rest as Mercedes confirmed Valtteri Bottas would retain his seat for the 2021 season. The William FW43B was a more competitive package than the previous iterations of the car, and Russell quickly became a fixture in the second round of qualifying, with two appearances in the third round of qualifying, placing his car in the top ten at the start of a grand prix.

George Russell during his podium celebration after finishing second in the rained-out Belgian grand prix.

This season also saw Williams Racing score points with both drivers for the first time in years. And at the Belgian Grand Prix, George Russell was able to qualify second during a rained-out qualifying round.With the race being eventually cancelled due to rain, this qualifying result meant George Russell won his first podium in Formula 1. He finished the season in 15th place in the driver's championship, with sixteen points.

Mercedes-AMG

Following the 2021 season and the respective success of George Russell, Mercedes-AMG confirmed that Russell would replace Valtteri Bottas and drive alongside seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 season. As a driver who has been part of the Mercedes Junior Driver Programme since 2017, it had been expected for a few years that Russell would be given a chance at driving for Mercedes-AMG. And the ties to Mercedes began before that when Russell at fifteen gave a power point to Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff for the reasons why the young driver deserved financial backing from Mercedes. Russell was awarded the financial backing, and at no surprise, Toto Wolff backed George Russell for his 2022 drive for Mercedes-AMG.

Timeline

January 4, 2022
Russell confirmed at Mercedes for 2022 season
February 15, 1998
George Russell was born in King's Lynn.

Patents

Further reading

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George Russell Formula 1 driver biography - RaceFans

Web

Documentaries, videos and podcasts

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References

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