Formula 1

Hungary Performance Unlikely to Sway Mercedes’ 2020 Decision – Russell

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

George Russell does not believe his performance during the recent Hungarian Grand Prix will sway the Mercedes AMG Motorsport team in anyway when it comes to choosing who will be Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate in 2020.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has previously said it would be too early to promote Russell to the multiple championship winning outfit in 2020, feeling it would risk ‘burning’ the 2018 FIA Formula 2 champion, with the decision likely to come down to either current driver Valtteri Bottas and current reserve driver Esteban Ocon.

The Williams Racing driver enjoyed his most competitive weekend of the year at the Hungaroring, qualifying and finishing sixteenth, the first time in 2019 where Russell has been able to qualify and finish ahead of anyone other than team-mate Robert Kubica on merit.

But despite his impressive performance in what is regarded as the worst car on the grid, Russell does not think it will impact Mercedes’ decision.

“I’ve already reminded him [Toto Wolff],” Russell is quoted as saying by “I always speak to the guys at Mercedes and Toto regardless of the performance.

“Like Valtteri said, if he had a good or bad weekend here in Hungary that’s not going to decide his future.  The fact that we had a really good performance here… It might help, it’s not going to hurt at all, but it’s not going to sway Mercedes’ decision.”

Russell was delighted with his performance at the Hungaroring, feeling it was the best weekend of the season so far, and he wants to come back after the summer break to see if it was just a one-off for Williams or if they have truly begun to turn the corner.

“It was definitely the best weekend of the year,” said Russell. “Qualifying exceeded all expectations and exceeded the reality.  We absolutely maximised our single lap whereas the other teams made some errors. You saw the mess with Perez and Ricciardo.

“I think [the race] was more of the reality. We made a step but we’re still quite far from the rest.  But if we continue at this rate, and we should be able to continue at this rate, we should be in the mix more often

“We’ve done two weekends with the updates. Last weekend was an absolute disaster, this weekend was very positive.  We need to see if this weekend was a one-off or not.”

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