GEORGE RUSSELL has made a bright start to his first season at Mercedes as he leads Lewis Hamilton in the championship.
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George Russell’s previous experience at Williams was vital to his success at Mercedes in his battle against Lewis Hamilton, according Guenther Steiner. Russell picked up a podium and a front-row start in his final season at Williams before joining the Silver Arrows.
However, just as impressive was Russell’s ability to beat his team-mate consistently as he continued to show clear progression during his three years with the team. When asked if Russell’s success is an example of how a driver testing their mettle in a team lower down the field can pay off in the long run, Steiner simply responded: “Absolutely.”
In an exclusive interview with Express Sport, Steiner added: “It pays off. You need to be patient in Formula 1 because there are very few drivers who came straight from a lower formula into one of the top seats. That happens very rarely, it happens, but it happens very rarely.
“George did a fantastic job, he was patient, he got the best out of it, he learned a lot. When he got to the big team he was ready and that is very important.
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Guenther Steiner has praised George Russell’s job at Williams (Image: Getty)
“If you get to a big team and you’re not good you don’t get a second chance normally. I think he is doing well but that is because he always kept the focus when he was in a smaller team.”
Russell is ahead of Hamilton in the championship by 16 points after a superb first half of the season. The Mercedes rookie has finished in the top five in every race he has reached the chequered flag.
He has also picked up four podiums and has matched Hamilton in qualifying with the pair both beating the other six times.
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George Russell has secured four podiums this season (Image: Getty)
Russell has previously praised his time at Williams for helping him during his formative years. Ahead of the new season, the 24-year-old said his time at the squad had been “very good for my development”.
However, he has recently accepted he signed the deal on the belief Williams would be more competitive than just running at the back of the field. He claimed that spending so long with the team did come with some negatives and was “too long”.
He explained: “We all sort of agreed that three years was a good period, fighting for points, maybe for podiums. In hindsight, three years driving on my own at the back of the grid was too long. But, unfortunately, Claire [Williams] did quite a good job at the contract negotiations, and there was sort of no way out.”