George Russell believes that the announcement that F2 rival and fellow Brit Lando Norris would be driving for McLaren in Formula 1 in the 2019 season actually helped him secure his own deal with the Williams F1 Team.
Throughout the 2018 F2 season, the pair battled for wins and top spot in the championship, with Russell edging ahead during the mid-season triple header in support of the French Grand Prix, the Austrian Grand Prix and the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where he hit the podium five times from the six available, winning twice.
This earned him a championship lead he was never to relinquish, finally sealing the title in the penultimate race at Abu Dhabi.
McLaren announced Norris would be driving for them on the 3rd September 2018, with almost three months of the season remaining – the first of a trio of F2 drivers (Norris, Russell and Alexander Albon) to land themselves an F1 drive.
At this point, Norris was second to Mercedes’ reserve driver Russell in the championship standings, and it’s Russell’s opinion that this gave his F1 credentials an extra boost.
After all, if the second place guy is good enough for McLaren, then how good is the guy leading??
In an interview with crash.net Russell said: “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.”
George Russell would go on to win seven F2 races over the course of the 2018 season, showing great racecraft, speed and composure that both sealed the F2 championship for him and his ART Grand Prix Team, and earned him a seat at the Williams Team for 2019.
Russell with be partnered by Formula 1 returnee Robert Kubica, who arrives back in the sport after a forced absence of eight years following a crash in the Andorra rally in early 2011 which severed his right arm.
They will be driving the 2019 Williams FW42