George Russell, Williams, Nurburgring, 2020

Russell admits “element of frustration” at not being able to race Leclerc and Verstappen

2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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George Russell admits he feels some frustration at not being able to show his ability alongside F1’s other upcoming talents such as Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.

The Williams driver scored back-to-back championship successes in GP3 (now Formula 3) and Formula 2 before making his grand prix debut at the beginning of last year. Since then he has never been out-qualified by a team mate, but he has also been unable to score a point in the uncompetitive Williams.

“Obviously as a driver you want to prove what you can do an on even and fair ground,” said Russell in response to a question from RaceFans.

“In any sport – if you are racing in the Tour de France and one guy has got a superior bike or a bike that has got an electric motor or something like that, you might be the best cyclist in the world but you won’t be able to compete with them.

“There’s definitely an element of frustration but ultimately I think that is part of what Formula 1 is. There’s always been fast cars, there’s always been slower cars.”

He hopes new rules which are due to come in over the next two seasons will help the team become more competitive but isn’t expecting immediate change.

“Unfortunately I think 2021 will be more of the same,” said Russell. “I hope, and I think everybody hopes, come 2022 with the new financial regulations, the new technical regulations, it’ll bring the whole field closer together. Hopefully it puts the driver literally in the driving seat to be able to make or break the weekend and I think everybody’s looking forward to that.”

Williams was sold to new owners Dorilton earlier this year. Russell expects to start seeing the benefits of their investment next year.

“We’ve not lost sight of 2020 yet and we haven’t lost sight of 2021 either,” he said. “We’re continuing to bring test items to the car to try to improve it this year and into next year.

“I think now with the new owners it’s really exciting with more finance behind us to be able to focus into the future for 2022 and beyond but also keep a good eye on 2021 to continue to progress the car. That’s exciting for us and hopefully we can make make a step to cement our place ahead of Haas and Alfa Romeo and try and catch onto the back of the midfield.”

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2020 Bahrain Grand Prix

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16 comments on “Russell admits “element of frustration” at not being able to race Leclerc and Verstappen”

  1. He was handed a chance to finish in the points not so long ago……

    1. Yes, but that is not what this article is about. Please read it

      1. If you can’t take your chances when they come, how will you get to fight Verstappen? Do you see?

        1. Therefore Max crashed in Monaco twice and never got the chance to beat Dan there. Do you see?

          1. Whatever you say or think, the teams will be thinking like @rodber. You dont get a shot at playing for the 1st team if you are not doing it in the reserves. Fair enough if his car had been beaten on pace whilst he was in good positions but he’s went off circuit whilst in the points, putzed a restart with only 11 runners and binned it on the safety. Yes champs also have their moments but usually their 1st three moments are not bad ones.

  2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    26th November 2020, 13:49

    Must admit I feel for Russell. He is clearly very quick but it’s not just that he hasn’t the opportunity to race the front runners, he is suffering from a lack of wheel to wheel experience against them as they continue to improve. Toto needs to replace Bottas with him in 2022 or risk the talent going to waste. Trouble is, Toto has said he is very loyal to his current drivers. Russell is too big a talent to do a Werlein but if Merc haven’t given him the top seat by ’22 I think he’s out on his own. (And no, for those who are hopeful, Lewis has already stated he wants to race the 22 cars so unlucky, He’s still going to be at Merc!)

    1. Your comment started well, but when you ripped into Bottas you lost sence of reality. Bottas is a top 3 or 4 f1 driver, proven by matching hamilton so often, Russell may very well prove to be slower than Bottas. His testing in Mercedes car did nothing in last 2 years to halt Bottas contract extention by the way.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        26th November 2020, 16:27

        I didn’t rip into Bottas. Bottas and Russell are out of contract for 2022. Who do you think Russell would replace in Merc, Lewis? My point was leaving Russell in Williams until Lewis retires would be a mistake. If they value the talent they should put him in alongside Lewis which means replacing Bottas. They’re obviously thinking about when to do it as Bottas has only ever had a one year contract. Maybe they don’t see a top 3 or 4 driver leading the team after Lewis retires.

      2. Bottas is no. 5 at best in the rankings
        a little gap (around +0.200 seconds)
        Maybe Bottas

    2. He is clearly very quick

      He is quicker compared with his teammates.. but apart form those he had no occasion to show if he is really quick.
      Recently he made some stupid mistakes most do in their rookie year. But he is not a rookie anymore.
      So i do believe he was quick in the lower categories, for now he did not showed the complete package.

      1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        26th November 2020, 16:29

        No driver is the complete package for several years. Max took until last year, his fifth year to really show what he has and he’s nowhere near as complete as Lewis or Alonso. I’m saying if Russell is left at the back of the grid it will take him even longer as a result of not fighting with the best.

        1. Sure Hamilton punted Albon off a few times this year, I wouldn’t call him complete either.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            26th November 2020, 19:06

            Eeeh, first race of the season, Albon went round the OUTSIDE which is always a risky move because traditionally the result you saw generally happens. Risk vs reward. Next 12 races they never met on the same piece of tarmac. Race 14 he spun before Lewis got close and allowed him past because he made a mistake so no. Disagree? Outline the “few times” this has happened this year. I’ll wait

  3. Not clear yet whether he is up to the level to fight Leclerc and Verstappen. He might be an Ocon, who was tipped to battle with them too but hasn’t come near.

  4. If he doesn’t get a point next year, I really doubt any team will consider him. Mercedes has thrown away Ocon, who doesn’t improve and looks like an average driver. Now the same can happen to Russell.
    It’s true that he beat Norris and Albon and got the same 7 wins as Leclerc, but he has to improve.

    I have a strong feeling that he is done and will end up like Hulk.

  5. Don’t worry Russell, Verstappen is also frustrated at not being able to race Hamilton.

    As a Wolf supported driver you are still ahead of most other drivers. Sure is your seat at Williams not because of connections you have that Perez or Hulkenberg don’t have!?!?!?

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