The Mercedes team has opted for the British George Russell to drive the car of Lewis Hamilton at the Shakir Grand Prix, where the seven world champion will not be able to compete after having contracted the coronavirus.
“George has been released by our partner team Williams Racing to join Mercedes this weekend in Bahrain. He becomes the fifth driver to compete for the Mercedes team since 2010 and the third Briton to represent Mercedes-Benz in the F1 after Sir Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton, “the German team recalled in a statement.
Russell has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz Young Drivers Program since 2017, when won the GP3 Series championship as a rookie, before repeating that same success in Formula 2 in 2018. Since last year he has been the starting driver for Williams, where he has left outstanding performances despite the weakness of his car.
“It will not be an easy task for George to do the transition from Williams to W11but he’s ready for the race and has a detailed knowledge of tires and how they work on this generation of cars. George has shown impressive form this year with Williams, playing a pivotal role in his rise on the grid, and I am optimistic that he will put on a great performance alongside Valtteri (Bottas), which will be a demanding reference for him, “analyzed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
Mercedes’ reserve driver is Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne, but the German team has chosen to give Russell this great opportunity to evaluate it as an option for the future. For his part, another British driver, Jack Aitken, will fill his vacancy at Williams over the next weekend.