George Russell says he’s beneath “no strain” as he prepares to race Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix
Hamilton has needed to miss the race as a result of he examined constructive for coronavirus and Mercedes negotiated a short lived launch for Russell from his Williams workforce.
Russell, who rejected the concept it was an audition for a Mercedes seat in 2022, mentioned: “There have been no targets anticipated of me by Mercedes as a result of you possibly can’t choose anyone off one race.”
His team-mate Valtteri Bottas’ contract lasts till the tip of subsequent season and lots of in F1 will see Russell’s drive at Bahrain this weekend – and maybe in Abu Dhabi the weekend after if Hamilton doesn’t get well in time – as a showdown between the 2.
“That’s not behind my thoughts,” Russell mentioned. “I will go on the market, take pleasure in it and study as a lot as I can.
“I’ve a job to do on my return to Williams and try to push that workforce ahead. I have to take this chance with each fingers and maximise the training. The long run will probably be judged over the course of a season, and what’s occurred up to now, not only one or possibly two races.”
Bottas admitted: “If he beats me, for positive it wouldn’t look so good on me if I had a traditional race honest and sq., so I attempt to keep away from that. However I am not an individual who thinks like that, I attempt to flip issues into motivation and constructive pondering and that’s my mindset for this weekend.”
Russell identified he faces a tricky activity this weekend.
He was Mercedes reserve driver in 2017 and 2018 and has achieved simply over 6,500km of testing for the workforce however has not even pushed the 2020 automotive within the workforce’s simulator.
“I’m being thrown in on the final alternative,” the 22-year-old mentioned. “I haven’t pushed their simulator in two years. My seat is three years outdated. I’ve a lot data to study and going up in opposition to Valtteri isn’t going to be simple.
“Valtteri has been pushing Lewis an unimaginable quantity over time.
“When you find yourself within the groove, built-in in a workforce – I do know the extent I used to be at at Williams. Altering abruptly, there are such a lot of new issues to study. I’ve no expectations, no targets.
“I’m in a very good place. I’m not placing any further strain on myself. I’m going to exit and luxuriate in it.
“This weekend will all be about learnings, particularly Friday. If I get the chance subsequent week in Abu Dhabi, who is aware of, that will probably be simpler.”
When did Russell first discover out?
Russell mentioned the primary indication he may very well be within the Mercedes this weekend was a telephone name from workforce boss Toto Wolff at 02:00 on Tuesday.
“I used to be really within the rest room, which was barely awkward.” Russell mentioned. “Toto mentioned: ‘George, are you within the rest room? And I mentioned I’m. He mentioned: ‘Lewis has Covid, he’s doing effectively and feels high-quality, which is most necessary, and we wish you to drive.’
“It occurred by means of the next day. I had 64 telephone calls on Tuesday pinging between so many various folks. Glad we received there ultimately.
“It means an enormous quantity to me that Mercedes gave me this chance, as a result of it was not simple, a number of effort went into making this deal occur.
“Logistically, getting helmets painted in 24 hours, getting fits flown out from Italy, so many issues needed to occur in such a short while.
“Realizing they have been keen to do this means rather a lot to me and I’ve to repay that with my efficiency and greatest efforts no matter what place which may imply.”
At 6ft 1in, Russell is 5 inches (14cm) taller than Hamilton and mentioned it had been a “tight match” getting him into the automotive.
It has required him utilizing one dimension smaller driving boots than his customary dimension 11s.
“That’s barely uncomfortable,” he mentioned, “however I’m positive I can endure the ache for this chance.”
Russell mentioned he had but to talk to Hamilton, who’s isolation following his constructive check, however that he anticipated to over the course of the weekend.
Russell has been changed at Williams by the workforce’s reserve driver, the Briton Jack Aitken.
The 25-year-old has already pushed the Williams in first apply on the Styrian Grand Prix in July and mentioned: “I don’t have any doubts that I’m able to step in.”