George Russell Biography
Born: 15/02/1998 King’s Lynn, UK
Strongly regarded as the most likely candidate to succeed fellow countryman Lewis Hamilton as Britain’s next F1 world champion with the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team.
The Norfolk driver enjoyed a swift and successful rise through the junior ranks en route to making his F1 debut in 2019, where three character-building seasons with Williams Racing won widespread acclaim despite his uncompetitive package.
A double CIK-FIA European Championship karting champion, Russell made his open-wheel debut in 2014 via a dovetailed dual campaign in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship – where he won the title – and the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps Championship.
This earned him a nomination to join the British Racing Drivers’ Club SuperStars initiative and preceded his step into the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Carlin in 2015. There, Russell would win in only his second start before going on to finish sixth overall, just behind fellow rookie and future F1 rival Charles Leclerc.
Switching to Hitech GP for 2016, Russell enjoyed a stronger campaign with two victories spurring him onto third place in the standings and with it a spot in Mercedes’ young driver programme.
A swap to the GP3 Series in 2017 saw Russell make his grand prix programme debut with ART Grand Prix, the Briton quickly emerging as the driver to beat after a trio of victories in the run up to the summer break. A fourth success at Spa went on to push him clear at the top of the standings, Russell ending the year as champion with a 79-point winning margin.
Promoted to an ART Formula 2 seat the following year, Russell came into the season tipped for a fierce title battle with another British hot prospect, Lando Norris. But it was Russell that had the measure of his countryman with four wins during the first half of the year giving him the advantage, before three more in the latter stages sealed him another comfortable title success.
It was enough to convince Mercedes to endorse Russell’s graduation to F1 for the 2019 season, particularly after impressing the championship-winning squad during a test outing in 2017.
Mercedes sought to place Russell with one of its engine customers for 2019, initially evaluating a move to Force India after a pair of Friday Free Practice outings in 2018. Eventually, it was confirmed he would make his debut with Williams Racing, where he’d remain for three years before being promoted to a Mercedes AMG F1 seat for 2022, where he has continued to shine towards the front of the grid.
2022 - Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
4th - 275 points
Russell’s much anticipated arrival in the erstwhile dominant force of F1 ensured the first all-British driver line-up in a team since Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were paired at McLaren in 2012.
It also coincided with F1’s technical regulation overhaul, which posed a fresh challenge for a Mercedes team that – despite losing out on the 2021 drivers’ championship to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – came into the 2022 F1 season with eight consecutive constructors’ titles under its belt.
But pre-season testing quickly exposed several aerodynamic compromises on the Mercedes W13 – most notably its tendency to ‘porpoise’ – leaving Russell and Hamilton playing catch up all year to the dominant Red Bull and Ferrari.
Russell focused on proving a competitive match for Hamilton, an objective he fulfilled on several occasions during the first half of the year which, coupled to the best finishing record of any driver, paved the way for several podium results – the first of which came with a third place in Australia.
He matched the result in Spain, Azerbaijan, France and Hungary, the latter race also setting the scene for his first F1 pole position. Two more podiums followed, including a career-best equalling second place at Zandvoort, before Russell became F1’s newest race winner with an exemplary performance in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
On a weekend that saw Mercedes anomalously emerge on a par with Red Bull in terms of pace, it was Russell – rather than Hamilton – that took advantage, picking up points and pole position by winning the sprint race, before holding his nerve in the grand prix outright to secure the more lucrative spoils.
Failing to score points in just two of the season’s 22 races, Russell ended the season in fourth overall, only 33 points shy of the runners-up spot, and ahead of Hamilton. That dealt the seven-time world champion’s first defeat by a team-mate since Nico Rosberg beat him to the 2016 F1 title.
2021 - Williams Racing
15th - 16 points
With Mercedes opting to retain Bottas for the 2021 F1 season, despite Russell’s show-stealing performance in Bahrain the previous year, the Briton thus remained with Williams for a third season.
Williams’ first full season under new owners Dorilton Capital, its arrival led to a fresh injection of cash and a management structure overhaul.
The result was a Williams FW44 package that – although still regarded as the slowest car on the grid on average – now had the potential to compete among the midfield more regularly in Russell’s hands.
Though points were still initially difficult to come by, Russell doggedly pushed on, very nearly cracking the top ten with his 11th place finish in Austria and making Williams’ first appearance in Q3 since 2017.
However, his copybook was blotted among Mercedes top brass when he was blamed for a high-speed tangle with Bottas at Imola while running inside the points.
The stars finally aligned for Russell at the Hungarian Grand Prix when a high attrition rate lifted him from 17th on the grid to eighth at the flag, though – somewhat bemusingly – this was a position behind team-mate Nicholas Latifi.
That mattered little next time out at the Belgian Grand Prix, when Russell and Williams’ formbook was turned on its head when it scored a second place result in bizarre circumstances. The consequence of Russell producing a mighty performance in the wet qualifying session to place the car on the front row – a first for Williams since 2017 – before holding station in second when the sodden race began under safety car conditions.
Officials threw the red flag after two laps and confirmed there would be no restart, so Russell’s maiden podium was assured, even if he received only half-points for it. The result kick-started a run of momentum that saw Russell score again soon after with ninth- and tenth-place finishes back-to-back in Italy and Russia.
With Russell’s graduation to the Mercedes AMG team having already been confirmed, he concluded the season in 15th overall.
2020 - Williams Racing
18th - 3 points
A step up in performance from the Williams FW43 and a headline grabbing one-off outing with Mercedes helped Russell consolidate his status as a potential F1 star in 2020.
Following a rookie season spent trailing at the back of the field in 2019, Russell capitalised on a Williams package that had evidently narrowed the gap to the busy midfield with some eye-catching efforts, particularly in qualifying.
Frequently able to break into Q2 on Saturday afternoons – peaking with a much celebrated 11th on the grid in Austria – though the Williams’ lacklustre race pace often made Sundays more of a challenge, Russell on a few occasions found himself skirting the top ten.
Gallingly, his first points in the Williams eluded him in frustrating circumstances. At the Tuscan Grand Prix, Russell ran a comfortable ninth before a red flag stoppage left him in the clutches of rivals on the restart, who swamped him down to 11th at the flag. He then made “the worst mistake of [my] career” at Imola when he spun out of tenth place while behind the safety car.
Nevertheless, the 2020 F1 season did see Russell score his first points in F1, albeit in Mercedes machinery following a surprise call-up to deputise for COVID-sidelined Lewis Hamilton in the Sakhir Grand Prix.
In a year that saw Russell increasingly tipped to replace Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes at some stage in the future, his opportunity was widely viewed as a direct head-to-head from which the team would assess who would partner Hamilton in 2021.
With Williams approving the loan, Russell immediately made his mark around the high-speed configuration of the Bahraini circuit to prove an instant match for Bottas. Missing out on pole position by 0.026s around the short circuit, Russell’s front-row start nonetheless far exceeded his career best at that stage.
Unphased by the occasion, Russell beat Bottas into Turn 1 to assume the lead of an F1 race for the first time. He held the position for 64 laps until a botched pit-stop that led to him being sent out illegally on his team-mate’s tyres – and vice versa – which necessitated another unscheduled stop that dropped him to fifth. After getting past Bottas to move into fourth, Russell’s hopes of a late recovery were scuppered by a puncture that demoted him down the order.
Ending up a disappointed, and unrepresentative, ninth place – the result nonetheless secured him his first points in F1 and all-but-assured him a Mercedes seat in future, albeit deferred to 2022.
2019 - Williams Racing
20th - 0 points [21 races]
One of three drivers to make the transition from F2 to F1 for 2019, though Russell arrived as champion, his Mercedes-endorsed move to Williams – compared with Alex Albon at Toro Rosso and Lando Norris at McLaren – was considered the most challenging.
Indeed, Williams welcomed Russell on the back of a dismal 2018 F1 campaign, the exit of Lance Stroll – and the substantial budget he brought with him - placing more financial pressure on the storied British team.
When the Williams FW42 then proved to be a handful in pre-season testing, Russell anticipated a tough debut year at the wheel of what was clearly the slowest car in the field. And so it proved, Russell well shy of the top ten on pure pace alone, only coming close at the German Grand Prix when he was classified in 11th.
Ironically, his personal best came in a race that saw team-mate Robert Kubica achieve Williams’ one and only point of the season just ahead in tenth, this despite Russell having easily out-performed the Pole – who was returning to F1 action some eight years after the near-fatal rallying crash that left him with partial use of his hand – and out-qualified him in all 21 races.
As such, though it meant Russell ended the season as the only driver not to score a point, his efforts relative to the experienced F1 race-winner drew praise.
Russell will keep "rolling the dice" after mindset change despite Singapore F1 crash
Russell will keep "rolling the dice" after mindset change despite Singapore F1 crash Russell will keep "rolling the dice" after mindset change despite Singapore F1 crash
Wolff: Russell error will be engraved after 99.99% fantastic F1 Singapore GP
Wolff: Russell error will be engraved after 99.99% fantastic F1 Singapore GP Wolff: Russell error will be engraved after 99.99% fantastic F1 Singapore GP
The lessons Russell can take from his "two-centimetre" Singapore F1 mistake
The lessons Russell can take from his "two-centimetre" Singapore F1 mistake The lessons Russell can take from his "two-centimetre" Singapore F1 mistake
Russell's Singapore GP crash "most horrendous feeling in the world"
Russell's Singapore GP crash "most horrendous feeling in the world" Russell's Singapore GP crash "most horrendous feeling in the world"
Norris hit the same wall as Russell on F1 Singapore GP final lap
Norris hit the same wall as Russell on F1 Singapore GP final lap Norris hit the same wall as Russell on F1 Singapore GP final lap
Russell suspects Ferrari not running engine at full power in Singapore F1 practice
Russell suspects Ferrari not running engine at full power in Singapore F1 practice Russell suspects Ferrari not running engine at full power in Singapore F1 practice
Russell wants change to 'Get out of Jail free' F1 corner
Russell wants change to 'Get out of Jail free' F1 corner Russell wants change to 'Get out of Jail free' F1 corner
Italian GP 2023: Lap by lap visualization
Italian GP 2023: Lap by lap visualization Italian GP 2023: Lap by lap visualization
Russell: Trying to "reinvent the wheel" behind F1 form dip
Russell: Trying to "reinvent the wheel" behind F1 form dip Russell: Trying to "reinvent the wheel" behind F1 form dip