The team Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team announced that the English George Russell will replace his compatriot Lewis Hamilton at Sakhir Grand Prize de F1 this weekend. The seven-time champion was excluded from this test for giving positive for coronavirus.
The German team explained that Russell was "released" by Williams Racing, to whom he delivers engines, to join Mercedes this weekend in Bahrain. In this way, he will become the fifth driver to compete for the German team since 2010 and the third Briton to represent Mercedes-Benz in F.1 after Sir Stirling Moss and Hamilton himself.
Russell has been a member of the Mercedes-Benz Junior Program since 2017, when he won the GP3 Series championship as a rookie, before repeating the feat in Formula 2 in 2018. In 2019 he reached F1 with Williams proving ever since "Impressive qualifying and race performances over the past two seasons."
“First of all, I want to thank our loyal Williams partners for their collaboration and open-mindedness in making it possible for George to race Mercedes this weekend. The conversations with the Williams team were positive and pragmatic, and those were the key factors in reaching an agreement ”, said Toto wolff, the director of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.
“It will not be an easy task for George to transition from Williams to W11, but he is race ready and has a detailed understanding of 2020 tires and how they work on this generation of cars. George has shown impressive form this year with Williams, playing a pivotal role in his rise to the grid, and I am optimistic that he will deliver a good performance alongside Valtteri, who will be a demanding benchmark for him. "continued.
Finally, Wolff assured: “This race will mark a small milestone for us as we see a member of our Junior program compete for the official Mercedes team for the first time. We have a job to do this weekend, and the full focus of our sporting endeavors will be behind Valtteri and George to maximize our score as a team. But of course our thoughts are with Lewis as well, and we will support him as much as we can to help him recover quickly during his period of self-isolation. "
Likewise, the team announced that after this competition it will announce whether Hamilton will be in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, last date of the tournament, or if he will be replaced again by another runner.