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
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao Plus

The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying

Formula 1
Apr 30, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Plus

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola, whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021