Williams may be locked in its own private nightmare down the back of the grid, but rookie George Russell has been a standout so far…
…in both out-qualifying and outracing teammate Robert Kubica, and being a positive force - at both the team, and in front of the media.
It’s a mature approach from the 21-year-old, one Russell says he learned during two difficult years in European Formula 3.
The Brit stepped up to F3 in 2015 as BRDC Formula 4 Champion, but had no chance at the title against the dominant PREMA team. He then won the GP3 and Formula 2 titles back-to-back.
…proving he was able to dominate with the right equipment.
SOUNDBITE (English) GEORGE RUSSELL, F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS
“I've had a number of difficult moments in my career, so I've sort of got the experience on that hand,” he said.
He’s also been prepared well by Mercedes, his former reserve driver role coming with lots of seat time in the Silver Arrows car, but also customers Force India-turned-Racing Point and Williams.
Russell even returned to the Mercedes’ cockpit for the post-Bahrain test, just two races into his rookie season.
So no wonder he was upbeat pre-season, with such a bright future ahead.
SOUNDBITE (English) GEORGE RUSSELL, F1 DRIVER, WILLIAMS:
“It’s an incredibly exciting year ahead, not only for myself but also for the team. I think there’s a big culture change moving forward into 2019 and to be at the helm of that is really exciting for me and it fills me with a lot of pride to be a part of this journey and seeing what history we can make together.”
With his fellow Formula 2 classmates Lando Norris and Alexander Albon doing well, it’s a reflection on Russell as 2018 series champion that he is capable of big things - despite being unable to score a point thus far.
Should Russell continue to deliver mature performances, expect his stock in the sport to skyrocket as negotiations for 2020 heat up.