Why Russell has an eye on the bigger picture
Plucked from his Williams seat to fill in for Lewis Hamilton at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix, George Russell proved he was a potential winner given the right car. But, says STUART CODLING, he can’t afford to sit around waiting for that opportunity to come again – he’s going to have to fight to prove himself once more…
Asked why he put himself forward for the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director’s chair vacated by IndyCar-bound Romain Grosjean, George Russell explains that he wants to “look back in 20 years’ time and say I was part of a positive change in Formula 1”. It’s not what you might expect to hear from a 23-year-old grand prix driver, especially one whose general lot during race weekends over the past two seasons has been a scrabble to get into Q2 and frustrated attempts to scrape into the top 10.
But it says much about how and where George Russell sees himself, and his level of engagement with F1 and the wider world, that he should take on a responsibility some of his more experienced peers have eschewed – and that he has the confidence to operate as one of the chief public faces of what has become an increasingly vocal body. By dint of their acceptance of Russell in the role, his peers have tacitly but nevertheless explicitly underlined the respect he commands, despite his youth and relatively meagre tally of points.
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