George Russell was one of the standout emerging talents of 2020. Driving for a team at the bottom of the table, he made several impressive Q2 appearances. The young Briton came close to scoring his first points in Williams at Imola but ended up crashing into the barriers.
Russell’s biggest opportunity arrived when he replaced Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix. The world champion had to miss the first race of his career because he was isolated after contracting coronavirus.
Mercedes loaned Russell from Williams and the young Briton made a powerful statement. He was leading the race comfortably and seemed ready to claim his debut career win. However, an unfortunate pit stop blunder and tire puncture took away a well-deserved victory.
During that time, Red Bull already appeared on the hunt for their new second driver. In a recent interview, Helmut Marko made it abundantly clear that Russell was never an option for the Dutch team.
“No,” he replied about reaching out to Russell about his contract situation.
“He has a ten-year contract with Toto Wolff. He is a Mercedes Junior. We were looking for an interim solution for a year. Perez is the much better option,” Marko further added.
Post Russell’s Sakhir Grand Prix performance, it was reported that Helmut Marko and Christian Horner have long kept their eyes on George Russell. There was a possibility that Red Bull could poach Russell.
“The idea was entirely plausible at the time. Red Bull could have offered Russell something that Mercedes couldn’t offer him: a victorious regular cockpit not only for 2022, but already for 2021,” stated a report.
After Sakhir Grand Prix, Marko admitted that Russell is a quick driver. However, the young Briton will be back to Williams next season. He will continue to push the car to score his first point for Williams. Russell will also want to make a statement to stake a claim for the next available Mercedes seat in Formula 1.