George Russell adamant Williams's plight won't damage his F1 career

Williams driver George Russell says his Formula 1 team's struggles will not hurt his career prospects because close observers including Mercedes know how he is performing in the circumstances

Russell became an official Mercedes junior driver in 2017 before winning won back-to-back titles in GP3 and then Formula 2 last season, and remains closely watched by Mercedes since signing a "multi-year" deal with Williams to graduate to F1.

But the 21-year-old is currently only fighting his team-mate Robert Kubica, as Williams's 2019 car is considerably off the pace and has left its drivers rooted to the back of the grid at the first two races of the season.

Speaking before he made it two qualifying and race victories in a row over Kubica in Bahrain, Russell said: "Nobody realises in the outside world but the people who will make a difference to my career moving forward, they know exactly how my performance is and they are keeping a close eye on that.

"They are pleased with that and that's great for me."

Russell ran as high as 12th in Bahrain during the pitstops before finishing 15th.

He has finished a lap ahead of Kubica in both grands prix so far, although Bahrain was impacted by a late safety car that prevented Russell falling a third lap behind the leaders.

"My aspirations are to get the team further up the grid and make the most of sessions that are a bit trickier, maybe mixed conditions, and prove what I can do behind the wheel," he said.

"The guys here, the guys at Mercedes, they know exactly how I'm performing.

"From my side, they're the only people who need to know.

"It's quite difficult in Formula 1 from an outside perspective, the fans, or the people watching on TV to fully understand if that driver is doing a good job or not.

"The people who need to know, know exactly how I'm performing."

Russell reprised his 2017 and '18 testing role with Mercedes in Bahrain last week.

He swapped his Williams for the 2019 Mercedes and set the fastest time of the two-day test, impressing the team in the process.

Mercedes chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin said: "It's been great to have George back in our car and many thanks to Williams for allowing it.

"He did an excellent job. The way he goes about testing and his consistency and feedback would make you think he has a couple of seasons of F1 under his belt, not just two races."

Previous article The final heroics of a British legend - F1's 100th GP
Next article McLaren's Norris to be more independent in F1 2019 battling