Williams and Mercedes may face a tug of war over F1 prospect George Russell

George Russell is a Mercedes development driver under contract to the Williams team.

George Russell is aiming for a Mercedes Formula 1 seat in 2020 despite Claire Williams previously saying that the young driver is a part of her team’s long-term plans.

Russell is a part of the Mercedes young driver program and entered F1 on the back of successive titles in GP3 and F2 — matching the achievements of the highly rated Charles Leclerc.

Racing around at the back is something that Russell will be smart to avoid next season, as in motorsport memories are short, and he would quickly gain a reputation as just a backmarker.

“Any driver would love the opportunity to drive in a championship-winning car,” said Russell. “I would be stupid to go against that.

“The fact is, I want to win races and have an opportunity to win titles. There is no disrespect and hard feelings towards Williams when I say that I want to be in a world championship-winning car. Who doesn’t?”

Asked whether he was ready to step up a level after one year, Russell added, “If I was to get the opportunity, I would be stupid to think I could beat Lewis (Hamilton) at my first race. He is the finest driver on the grid. But, from my side, I feel like the potential is there. I feel absolutely confident that I could take the opportunity with both hands and really deliver after a couple of races.

“Toto (Wolff, Mercedes boss) has all of the information at his fingertips. They don’t need me to make a sales pitch. Everything is possible in Formula 1. This sport changes by the day. I truly believe in myself.”


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