Chief technical officer for Williams Racing, Pat Symonds, has said he considers rookie driver George Russell to be a future World Champion.
Russell, who was the World Champion in feeder series Formula 2 last year, is honing his skills with the Grove-based outfit, which is difficult owing to the challenges the team has faced so far this season.
Nevertheless, the 21-year-old has received praise for his performance in qualifying for the recent Hungarian Grand Prix, where he just missed out on a spot in the second session.
Symonds, who has spent his motorsport career working with greats such as Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher when they were racing for Renault and Benetton, was asked by an F1 Fan Voice member who he considers to be in with a chance of winning a Championship in future.
“I’ll give you a slightly off the wall answer. Watching George Russell in Formula 2, I’ve been really impressed with him,” said Symonds.
“I’ve seen him race really well in so many different circumstances, leading in the front, controlling the race, coming through traffic, wet weather, dry weather.
“When things have gone wrong, he’s kept at it. I’ve got a feeling he might be a guy to watch.”
Symonds’ view on the British driver was shared by Sky F1 pundit David Croft.
“When you’re driving a car as far off as the Williams in this season, you have to compare him to his team-mate,” said Croft.
“And despite Robert Kubica getting Williams’ only point, in Germany, George Russell has consistently out-performed his more experienced colleague during the course of this season.
“He’s barely put a foot wrong in a car that is hugely difficult to drive and gain consistency in.”
Croft concluded: “It bodes well for his future in the sport, which may still be with Williams next season, but that’s no bad thing as both team and driver develop.”