Current Williams driver and many people’s pick for Britain’s best chance of a successor to Lewis Hamilton George Russell turns 23 today.
Born in Kings Lynn in 1998 (which means he hadn’t yet been born when Jacques Villeneuve won Williams’ last World Championship in 1997 – does that make you feel old dear reader??) George Russell began his karting career at the age of seven, winning a couple of British Championships, before graduating to single seaters in 2014, working his way up to GP3 in 2017 where he took the title at his first attempt, progressing to F2 – the main feeder series to Formula 1 – in 2018, where he repeated the feat: one year, one title.
By then George was part of the Mercedes young driver programme and, aware of his talent, Toto Wolff was keen to have him make the jump to Formula 1 and secured a three year deal with Williams from 2019 to 2021.
Sadly for George, Williams haven’t yet been able to give him a competitive car and he’s spent most of his two years in Formula 1 at or near the back. The one exception to this arrived at the last year when Lewis Hamilton was forced to sit out the Sakhir Grand Prix as a result of a bout of the dreaded COVID-19.
George was drafted in to deputise and over the course of the weekend demonstrated all the attributes that make him a potential Formula 1 World Champion, and was cruelly denied a famous win by a tyre drama (dramas!)
George approaches the third and final season of his Williams contract knowing that, with both Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton yet to sign deals for 2022, a good season could land him in the most prized seat in F1 at present – Mercedes Benz – which would surely give him the shot at wins & even championships many people think he deserves.
George shares his birthday with the great Graham Hill – two time Formula 1 World Champion and father of Williams’ own Damon Hill, who took the 1996 world drivers’ title with the team.
Happy Birthday George! And Graham! (But not George Graham – former Arsenal manager – I have no idea when he was born).