FIA Formula 2 Championship leader George Russell believes the performances of Charles Leclerc in Formula 1 are helping his case for a seat for the 2019 season.
Leclerc in his debut season in F1 has performed impressively with Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team, putting him in links with a potential seat at Scuderia Ferrari next year. The Monegasque driver dominated to the F2 title last year before making his move to F1.
Russell currently leads the championship with four rounds to go ahead of McLaren‘s junior driver Lando Norris by twelve points, as well as beating drivers who has links with Formula 1 teams.
The ART Grand Prix driver is aiming for a seat next year in F1, with the British driver hoping to apply ‘pressure’ to Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport boss, Toto Wolff.
Going into the summer break, Russell spoke with Racer.com saying the credit in F2 has gone up in thanks to Leclerc’s performances and believes he is ready to make the step up to F1 next year.
“I think currently we are doing a very good job in F2,” Russell said. “I hope some heads have turned in the past few races and kind of noticed what we have been achieving. I purely think we just need to keep on doing what we are doing really. If you keep on winning and keep on doing stellar performances, teams are going to be interested.
“F2 credit has gone up massively since Charles has done a massively good job this year at Sauber. Obviously in the past few years F1 has been changing with the likes of Verstappen, Ocon, Leclerc, these young guys coming in and proving they can do the job.
“I feel ready, and I don’t think there’s a huge amount more that we need to be doing. Just keep on performing, keep on winning and hopefully win the F2 championship.”
The new Formula 2 car suffered multiple issues relating to the clutch, causing some cars to stall on the grid at the start of the race. The series ran tests in the break between Silverstone and Budapest to resolve the issue. Russell has suffered three retirements, but the nineteen-year old driver says that he is confident that the circumstances mean teams like Williams Martini Racing and Sahara Force India F1 Team will look beyond who wins the title.
“I think this season in F2 has been a bit unique for everybody,” Russell added. “If we were not to win the championship we can always look back and say we had a whole weekend in Budapest ruined by mechanical, we had the whole of Monaco ruined by mechanical, we had race two in Paul Ricard, didn’t start, we stalled in Bahrain. The list is just enormous.
“Everyone is having issues but we kind of are getting that unluckier moment, lets say, on tracks you can’t do anything – Budapest and Monaco have been my worst two.
“What’s essential is that I keep on performing. I keep on qualifying at the front, and if I am at the back, I keep on coming back like I have been doing. So I don’t think it’s essential to win to secure that F1 seat.”