Red Bull’s Marko Explains Why “Perez Is the Much Better Option” Compared to George Russell

Published 12/30/2020, 8:05 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ George Russell celebrates after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Tolga Bozoglu


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.

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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.

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Formula One F1 – Sakhir Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – December 5, 2020 Mercedes’ George Russell in the garage during practice FIA/Handout via REUTERS

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.

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Red Bull had their eye on George Russell

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Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Williams’ George Russell during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

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.

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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.

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Ayush Manjunath

580 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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