Russell: Norris F1 deal helped me seal Williams drive

George Russell believes Formula 2 rival Lando Norris securing a Formula 1 race seat with McLaren helped to put pressure on Williams to sign him for 2019.

Russell: Norris F1 deal helped me seal Williams drive
Listen to this article

Norris was signed by McLaren shortly after September's Italian Grand Prix, but at that point ART Grand Prix driver Russell had surpassed his Carlin rival at the top of the F2 standings.

“Lando’s announcement so early helped me to push Williams for my drive,” explained Russell. 

“Because if I was ahead of him in the [F2] championship and McLaren believed he [Norris] was worthy of a Formula 1 seat, it showed there was some great signs for myself, and it probably added more pressure for Williams to say ‘we’ve got to go with George because he’s the guy who is winning F2’.”

Mercedes junior Russell secured his seat at the beginning of October, and has since been joined by Robert Kubica for the 2019 season.

He took seven wins in his title-winning F2 campaign, matching the all-time record held by Charles Leclerc and Stoffel Vandoorne. He also joined Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Nico Hulkenberg in taking the title in his rookie season.

However, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Russell as he suffered more issues than many of his title rivals with the new-for-2018 F2 car. 

In Bahrain he had a slow start due to the troublesome F2 clutch, while one round later he was driven off the road by Nyck de Vries in the Baku feature race while leading. 

An engine failure in practice at Monaco on his first visit there compromised performance, and a clutch issue from fourth on the grid at the Hungaroring and a throttle sensor problem at Paul Ricard also hindered his progress. 

But the Kings’ Lynn-born driver says he believed that the people responsible for his career opportunities could look past the early results.

“Whenever I had my talks with Mercedes and Toto [Wolff, Mercedes boss], they understood what was going on and understood the true potential,” added Russell. “They didn’t just look at the overall standings and the points we’d lost. 

“That was refreshing in my mind, that as long as they were happy, they were the guys that were going to make a difference in my career.

“I’ve learned to recognise the people you need to please. The people I needed to please at that point were ART and Mercedes, and now they are Williams and Mercedes. 

“It doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, what the perception is. As long as they think I’m doing a good job, that’s all that matters to me.”

George Russell, ART Grand Prix

George Russell, ART Grand Prix

Photo by: FIA Formula 2

shares
comments
A rare insight into why Verstappen is so good
Previous article

A rare insight into why Verstappen is so good

Next article

How much does it cost to race in F1? Entry costs revealed

How much does it cost to race in F1? Entry costs revealed
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022