Wolff Hopes ‘Little Lion’ Russell is in a Top F1 Car Next Season Amid Mercedes Rumours

Published 07/16/2021, 3:57 PM EDT
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – JULY 19: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff smiles in parc ferme during the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on July 19, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


As David Coulthard said in a post-race interview, “it was one of the great qualifying sessions in Formula One history.” And it truly was. The times flew across the board, and the cars dashed across the track. Regardless, it was George Russell who stole the spotlight. The Brit commanded the attention of everyone watching as he sped through an empty circuit during Q3. He painted a handsome picture; maneuvering the chicanes and bolting through the straights. It was a sight to behold as he finished P8 at his home circuit.

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Mr. Saturday proved himself yet again as he pushed the Williams to its absolute limit at Silverstone. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff appreciated the young achiever. “It’s a treat for the eyes to watch George. He’s in the Top 10 & almost beats the McLaren. That shows his incredible talent. A little lion in the car.” 

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 16, 2021 Williams’ George Russell in action during qualifying REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

Was the “little lion’s” roar loud enough for a seat at the Silver Arrows? When asked if Russell deserves a seat in a top car next season, Wolff replied, “yeah, let’s hope so.” The interviewer prodded a little more. “No news?” “No.” Wolff’s silence on the second seat, backed by Russell’s brilliant qualifying session, only leaves room for the imagination.

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A perfect day at Silverstone for Russell

George Russell started his afternoon at the circuit with a frightening end to his free practice session. He was the slowest on the grid, sitting at the bottom at p20. Consequently, the following session seemed daunting.

A cracked mirror on the Williams during the final lap got everyone hoping Russell wouldn’t have bad luck going into qualifying. Russell found his luck in the 90,000 fans roaring for him as he entered the track for Q1. Russell pulled through with a stunning P8, making it into Q2 again.

Marking his seventh appearance in Q2, it has become a familiar place for Russell. After placing seventh, Russell broke familiarity and made it into Q3. The celebrations were temporary, as everyone was focused to see where he would place for the Sprint.

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After a stunning time on the track, Russell will start eighth on Saturday’s sprint session; giving him a fighting chance for Sunday.

It was heartwarming to see the happy Brit jump out of his car, with the sound of the grandstands cheering him. George Russell deserved this day at Silverstone, and whether Toto Wolff likes to admit it, everyone knows the true potential he holds.

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Shreya Sanjeev

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Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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