The Mercedes team found themself in an ungrateful situation after Lewis Hamilton was positive on the COVID-19 virus. In a very short time, they needed to find a driver to replace him at the Sakhira Grand Prix, and their wish was George Russell.
Although a member of the Mercedes junior program, Russell is a Williams driver and the British team had no obligation to let go of their driver. However, Williams ’lead came out to meet Mercedes and allowed Russell this unique opportunity, while his place will be filled by another Briton, Jack Aitken.
“I want to thank our loyal partners at Williams for their cooperation and their open approach to the proposal for George to drive for Mercedes this weekend. The talks were positive and pragmatic, and these were the main reasons for reaching an agreement.
This race will mark a special moment for us because one member of the junior program will play for the factory team for the first time, ”said Toto Wolff.
Williams is still hoping to grab some points at the end of the season, so they don’t end the season at zero.
The ninth in the ranking of constructors, Haas F1 Team, has three points, so we can talk about such a fight, although it is realistic to expect that neither of them will get to the points. Either way, Williams could have insisted on Russell’s performance for them because the young Briton has been far better and faster than team-mate Latifi all season, but after two years of torture at weak Williams, it’s hard to say George didn’t deserve a chance like this.
Given that he has a 36-0 career record against his team-mates so far, his relationship with Valtteri Bottas will be followed with interest. "George has shown impressive form this year with Williams, he has played a crucial role in their rise in the standings and I am optimistic that he will deliver us a good performance alongside Valtteri, who will serve as his reference."
"It won't be an easy task for him to make the transition from Williams to W11, but he is a race-ready driver and has a detailed understanding of this year's tires and how they behave on this generation of cars."
“We have work to do this weekend and with full concentration our sporting efforts will be with Valtteri and George, to win as many points as possible for the team. Of course, we are also thinking of Lewis, whom we will support as much as we can in order to recover quickly in this period of self-isolation ", said the head of the Mercedes team.
Since this year's titles have already been archived, Mercedes could actually come in very handy this weekend as a test for the future.