So who is George Russell, Williams’ new star?
Born in King’s Lynn in 1998, four months after Williams’ last world title (just let that sink in!), George Russell began karting at the age of eight and in a karting career lasting an unusually lengthy seven years, won multiple national, European and world titles before making his single-seater debut in Formula Renault in 2014.
In an effort to progress quickly, along with doing enough to finish fourth in the Formula Renault Alps series, he took part in two Formula Renault Euroseries races and won the BRDC Formula 4 Championship for which he was handed an F3 test.
His endeavours in 2014 earned him the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, and with it the £100,000 cash prize and a McLaren Formula 1 test.
George Russell was also one of the dozen drivers included in the BRDC Superstars programme, giving the brightest young British talent access to support in every area of becoming a successful professional racing driver.
Formula 3 and Carlin Motorsport beckoned in 2015, winning on his European debut and finishing sixth in the championship. Two more wins followed in 2016, taking him to third place in the championship.
2017 saw George Russell move to GP3, support series to Formula 1, with ART Grand Prix where nine visits to the podium including four wins was enough to see him take the title at the last race of the season at Jerez.
This success brought George Russell to the attention of the Mercedes F1 Team who signed him to their junior driver programme. With this came his F1 test debut with Mercedes-powered Force India in Hungary, followed by an appearance in practice for the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix later in the year.
Staying with ART for 2018, George Russell moved a step closer to F1 as part of the team’s F2 line-up alongside fellow Briton Jack Aitken. To cement his place as a genuine star of the future he was also confirmed as Mercedes’ reserve driver for the year.
During the course of the season, George Russell has demonstrated that he can keep his composure while leading, he can overtake, he can win in wet or dry conditions, he is consistent and he has been thoroughly professional throughout.
Six wins have taken him to within spitting distance of the Formula 2 title in what looks like his last season in the series before moving to Formula 1 with Williams in 2019.