George Russell is a British driver currently contracted by Williams to compete in Formula One. He won the 2017 GP3 Series Champion before he won the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship driving for ART Grand Prix. Russell is contracted by Williams till the end of the 2021 season. He replaced Lewis Hamilton at Sakhir for Mercedes because the latter was down with a COVID19 infection.
George Russell was born to Steve and Alison Russell in King’s Lynn, Norfolk on 15 February 1998. Spending time alongside his older brother Benjy, who was involved in competitive karting, Russell started karting at the age of seven. Growing up in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, Russell moved to Milton Keys to be closer to the racing teams.
George Russell’s Career Before Formula 1
Russell began karting in 2005 at the age of 7. He went through the cadet class in 2009 and won the MSA British Championship and the British Open Championship that year. In 2010 Russell competed in the Rotax Mini Max category. He won the Super One British Championship, the Formula Kart Stars British Championship as also the Kartmasters British Grand Prix.
In 2011, Russell chose to compete in the KF3 class winning the SKUSA Supernationals title. He also won the CIK-FIA European Championship in 2011 and again in 2012. Competing in the KF1 class in 2013, Russell finished 19th in the KF1 CIK-FIA World Championship. He moved to single-seater racing in 2014.
Formula Renault 2.0 (2014)
Russell signed for Prema Powerteam in 2014 but switched at the last minute to Koiranen GP to make his debut in single-seater racing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps. He missed a racing weekend due to illness but took a podium finish at Red Bull Ring and finished the championship in 4th place. Russell contested in two rounds of the Eurocup Formula 2.0. Driving for Tech 1 Racing as a guest driver he won the final round of the championship.
Formula 4 (2014)
George Russell also competed in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship for Lanan Racing. After an interesting four-way battle in the final race of the season at Snetterton, he won the race after starting from the pole. He won the championship by just three points beating Arjun Maini to the finish line.
At the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, Russell was offered a chance to test drive a GP3 car by Arden Motorsport. Russell was awarded the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award, the youngest driver win the award, earning a $100,000 cash prize. He also earned himself a British Drivers’ Club membership along with an offer for a Formula One test from McLaren. In 2015, Russell became the youngest driver to be selected for the British Racing Drivers’ Club SuperStars programme.
FIA Formula 3 European Championship (2015-2016)
In 2015, Russell opted to race in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship with Carlin. He took his first win in Formula 3 racing in the second race of the first weekend at Silverstone. He got the better of his current Formula One rivals Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi. He took a podium position at Spa-Francorchamps and another one at Norisring and finished 6th in the championship.
In the Masters Formula 3 held at Zandvoort, Russell finished second behind teammate Antonio Giovinazzi. In the Macau Grand Prix Russell was replaced at the last moment by the Japanese Yu Kanamaru just before the event. During the 2016 season, Russell opted to race with Hitech GP and secured two wins to finish third in the rankings.
GP3 Series (2017)
Having previously driven at the post-season test for ART Grand Prix at Yas Marina in 2016, Russell signed to race for the team for the 2017 season. Finishing 4th and 5th in the first weekend in Barcelona, Russell attained his maiden pole position and victory in GP3 racing on his home track in Silverstone. He took a fourth-place finish in the second race to lead the championship.
Second-place finishes in both the races at Spa-Francorchamps saw Russell build his lead in the championship. Russell won a great battle against his teammates, Jack Aitken and Antonie Hubert, in the race at Monza to come out victorious. With only two weekends to go at Jerez and Yas Marina, Russell was in a good position to seal the championship title in Jerez.
Russell took the second and fourth places in the two races at Jerez to take an unassailable lead in the Championship. He won the championship with four pole positions, five fastest laps, four wins and three second-place finishes. He finished with 220 points leading his teammate Jack Aitken by 79 points. ART Grand Prix took 1-2-3 positions in the Teams’ Championship.
FIA Formula 2 Championship (2018)
In January 2018, Art Grand Prix announced that they had signed George Russell to race for them in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship. He was also recruited as the Mercedes’ reserve driver alongside Pascal Wehrlien.
Russell started the 2018 F2 season by qualifying second in Bahrain and finishing fifth in the opening round. In the second round at Baku, Russell led the feature race for a good time before a safety car caused him to finish 12th. He started from 12th place on the grid in the sprint race to claim his maiden victory in Formula 2. He set the fastest lap in the race on his way to the victory.
A second victory of the season and his maiden feature race victory followed by a fourth-place finish in the sprint race saw Russell finish second in the championship rankings. He achieved his third victory of the season at le Castellet in France after taking his maiden pole position.
He won the championship in the feature race in Abu Dhabi after a season-long tussle with his compatriot Lando Norris. At the end of the season, Russell had seven wins, four podium positions, four pole positions and five fastest laps. He had scored 287 points to Lando Norris’ 219. His teammate Jack Aitkin finished in the 11th position with 63 points.
George Russell’s Career In Formula 1 (2019-present)
Russell had joined Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport as a part of their junior driver programme in 2017. That year Russell took part in both the test days in the post-championship testing in Budapest. He also made his Formula One practice debut in Brazil in 2017 and participated in the first practice session at Abu Dhabi.
In May 2018, Force India confirmed that Russell will be one of their Pirelli tyre test drivers starting at the post-Spanish Grand Prix test. He completed 128 laps for the team testing tyres in a Formula One car built to 2018 specifications. Russell signed a multi-year contract with Williams Racing on 13th October to drive for the team from the forthcoming season.
At Williams, Russell had Robert Kubica as his partner for the 2019 season. Both Russell and Kubica found themselves racing only against each other as the Williams FW42 was the slowest car fielded in the championship. In Austria, Russell found himself in competition with the Toro Rosso of Alex Albon but finished 18th, three places behind Albon.
While Russell narrowly missed scoring his maiden championship points in Germany, finishing 11th, he was tagged and sent into a wall in Singapore. George Russell finished the 2019 Formula One season in 20th place without a single point to his name. His partner, Robert Kubica finished 19th with one point.
In 2020, Russell continued racing for Williams Racing with Nicholas Latifi having replaced Robert Kubica. He dropped out of the first Grand Prix of the season in Austria due to loss of fuel pressure. Russell gained the 11th position on the grid, his best in the championship to date, in the Styrian Grand Prix. But straying on to the gravel early in the race meant that he finished 16th.
A stray wheel from Antonio Giovinazzi’s car hit Russell’s Williams and caused him to retire in the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix. In the Tuscan Grand Prix, Russell recovered from an 18th place start and worked his way up to 9th place. But a second red flag and a poor restart caused Russell to drop back and finish last.
Russell was able to make his sixth Q2 appearance in Russia while crashing out in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix due to his mistake while following a safety car.
Mercedes- Stand-in for Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton tested positive in a coronavirus test before the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix. George Russell who was a standby driver for Mercedes was chosen to replace Hamilton in the Sakhir Grand Prix. Russell qualified second for the race just 26 milliseconds behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Russell took an early lead and led the race till the 20th lap.
When he pitted for a tyre change, the Mercedes team mechanics fitted one of Bottas’s front tyres to Russell’s car. This caused Russell to pit again after the next lap. Ten laps later he found out that he had to pit again because of a slow tyre puncture. Russell managed to finish in ninth place and earned his first three points in the World Championship (one point for the fastest lap).
Russell earned praise from the Mercedes Team as well as from the media for his performance in Bahrain.
Back to Williams
Russell was back at Williams upon Hamilton’s return to Mercedes. He participated in the practice session at Abu Dhabi and qualified 18th ahead of his teammate Latifi. He had to struggle with tyre management during the session and finished the race in 15th place. George Russell finished the 2020 World Championship in 18th place with the 3 points he had earned driving for Mercedes.
George Russell will continue driving for Williams Racing for the 2021 Formula One season.