Russell, three races into his Grand Prix career with Williams, has found himself at the back of the grid with a poor Williams FW42 leaving he and team-mate Robert Kubica only capable of racing each other, with the rest of the grid seconds a lap quicker – lightyears in F1 terms.
Further weight on Russell’s shoulders comes from the expectation that he will one day find himself in a Mercedes F1 car fighting for world championships, and that a poor season or two could prompt Toto Wolff to look elsewhere when the time comes for him to find successors to his current drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
But the young Englishman seems to be quite at home in the F1 paddock, and speaks with the calmness and assuredness of someone who is likely to be around for a long time to come.
Speaking of his opportunity with Williams, Russell said:
“You want to do your best and get the most out of it and I know I’ve just got to do the job”
“My goal is to get the most out of it and if I do that I’m happy.”
“There’s no need to add additional pressure to impress anybody.”
“I feel the same amount of pressure entering a qualifying session as I did in F2 or GP3”.
On his relationship with Mercedes, he added:
“When I opened the F2 season in Bahrain last year and it was a poor weekend…the response from Toto was ‘don’t worry about it, it’s the first race and a long season, and make sure you do better next time”
But while he’s happy knowing he has Mercedes’ support he’s also aware of the risks of switching off and coasting to the end of the season knowing 2019 isn’t likely to get a whole lot better:
“At the end of the day if I am not performing Mercedes aren’t just going to keep me there.”