During the business end of the 2020 F1 season, George Russell found himself in a championship-winning car for a brief period of time. The Briton had been asked to step in for a COVID-struck Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain GP. Considering his career had been stale with Williams until that point, the offer from Mercedes potentially re-wrote his future in the sport.
Hence, with Russell at the wheel, a lot of expectations landed on the junior Mercedes driver. Although he failed to deliver decent results to the team, his dominant performance throughout the weekend ended up being the talking point in the paddock.
Subsequently, his prospects of grabbing onto a full-time drive with the team rose quite drastically. And he now stands in a position where it looks like he could fill up one of the seats at Mercedes by as early as 2022.
Amid such a positive few months, the Williams driver claimed that the weekend in Bahrain was definitely the game-changer.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Russell opened up about how the one-off weekend in Bahrain lit up his future in Formula 1. He felt that his future may have deviated a lot from his desired path, had it not been for the opportunity from Mercedes.
“I think that race was massive for myself. And I think it gives me the opportunity now just to sit back relax and just really focus on the driving,” he said.
“What will happen will happen. And I’d like to think I managed to show what I could do in a front-running car. You know Mercedes are my mentors, my managers.
“And we just have to wait and see what comes in 2022. But I think like I said, that opportunity for me was huge. And perhaps I would have been going about it slightly differently if I didn’t have that opportunity last year,” Russell added.
Looking at the 2021 season, Williams are looking much stronger than they were over the last few years. Hence, this significant jump in pace might assist the young Briton to secure his first points with the bottom-field team.
Furthermore, Mercedes will also keep a close watch on Russell’s form through the upcoming season.
Will Russell manage to impress his managers even more by delivering a strong outing with Williams? Only time will tell.