The effort Mercedes made to get Russell ready to replace Hamilton at Sakhir GP

George Russell has revealed the logistical efforts Mercedes made ahead of his Formula 1 race debut with the team, which included preparing and transporting his race suit in several countries

The effort Mercedes made to get Russell ready to replace Hamilton at Sakhir GP

The Briton's short-term move to the reigning champion squad, where he has been a junior driver since the start of 2017, was only confirmed on Wednesday morning - the day after Lewis Hamilton had announced he had tested positive for COVID-19.

But, speaking in the pre-event press conference for the Sakhir Grand Prix alongside his new team-mate, Valtteri Bottas, Russell explained that Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had made him aware that a potential temporary transfer was a possibility at "2am on Tuesday".

Russell then explained how Mercedes had quickly acted to complete the various logistical challenges for his race debut, when asked what being chosen as Hamilton's replacement meant for his future career chances at the team.

He said: "It means a huge amount to me that Mercedes gave me this opportunity because it was not easy for them - it was a lot of effort [that] went into making this deal happen.

"And I really appreciate what they've done.

"Logistically, getting helmets painted in the course of 24 hours, suits made, flown over from Italy [where Mercedes F1 race suits are made by Puma], to the UK, to Bahrain - there's so many things that have had to happen in the course of such a short period of time.

"Knowing they were willing to do that means a lot to me and I guess I have to repay that with my best performance and my best efforts regardless of what position that may mean."

Russell also said he was not entering the Sakhir race with any additional expectations, despite driving for a team that has won 13 of the 15 race so far in 2020 after stepping up from Williams.

"From my side, I think there's no pressure," he explained.

"I'm being thrown in at the last opportunity, I haven't driven their simulator in two years - my seat is three years old.

"I've got so much information to learn. And like I say, going up against Valtteri isn't going to be easy.

PLUS: The risk and reward of Russell's Mercedes opportunity

"So, I think I'm in a good position. I'm not putting any additional pressure on myself. I'm going to go out there, I'm going to enjoy it.

"And there's been no targets, no expectations expected from me by Toto, by Mercedes.

"Because you can't judge somebody off the back of one race, I think.

"This weekend is gonna be about learning, especially Friday, focused towards qualifying, and into the race on Sunday.

"And if I get the opportunity next week again in Abu Dhabi, who knows. That will be easier for me."

shares
comments
Ferrari pushing for Sainz to join Abu Dhabi young driver F1 test

Previous article

Ferrari pushing for Sainz to join Abu Dhabi young driver F1 test

Next article

Perez opting against taking F1 reserve role in 2021 if he can't land race seat

Perez opting against taking F1 reserve role in 2021 if he can't land race seat
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , George Russell
Teams Mercedes
Author Alex Kalinauckas
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021