George Russell has been praised by Jost Capito, the Team Principal and CEO of the Williams F1 Team, ahead of his move to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in 2022.
Russell has been a part of the Williams set-up since the 2019 season and has often shown himself to be amongst the best drivers on the grid, despite the car at his disposal not being a frontrunning one.
It took until the Hungarian Grand Prix of 2021 for Russell to finally score points for Williams (he did score points during his one-off appearance for Mercedes when he replaced Lewis Hamilton in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix), but his performances before and after that merited more reward.
His Qualifying performances often outshone the car, with Russell making numerous Q2 and Q3 appearances throughout 2021. His best effort, however, was at Spa-Francorchamps when, in difficult wet conditions, he put his Williams onto the front row of the grid, only being denied pole position by Max Verstappen.
The podium that followed on Sunday may have been lucky as the weather prevented any green flag running, but the points (albeit only half points were rewarded) had certainly been earned on Saturday.
He also took points finishes in both the Italian and Russian Grand Prix, and he leaves Williams having moved them from tenth to eighth in the Constructors’ Championship.
And Capito says that Russell has been a great team leader at Williams, and he expects him to improve even more with Mercedes.
“George is a great team leader,” Capito is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. And raw diamond would not [be] good enough. He is already a polished diamond.
“And he is still not at his best, I think he can still get better. But the stage he is now he is a huge asset for every team. And so he was for us.
“And on one hand, we are sad to see him leave. But that could be expected, and we supported him to get this chance. And we are very happy for him to get the chance.”