George Russell’s former karting crew mate has described the British driver as “particular” and backed him to exchange Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes subsequent 12 months. Hypothesis is rife that Russell, 23, might be lining up alongside Lewis Hamilton subsequent season, with Toto Wolff admitting the choice had already been made privately. And now Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc has joined the rising variety of voices backing Russell to shine if he joins the present Constructors’ champions.
Leclerc, who was within the information earlier this week for saying spectators on the rain-affected Belgian Grand Prix ought to be reimbursed, stated it was clear from a younger age that Russell was “extraordinarily gifted.”
Talking forward of this week’s Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort, he stated: “I’ve really been crew mates with George.
“It was a very long time in the past in karting – and I believe what I’ve seen of him since that point is that he’s simply extraordinarily gifted, and each time he obtained into the kart again then, or the car now, he’s simply fast immediately. So his expertise makes him particular.
“If he goes to Mercedes subsequent 12 months – and I hope he does as a result of I believe he deserves an opportunity there – I am fairly positive that he will carry out very, very nicely and impress multiple person.”
And his present Williams crew mate, Nicholas Latifi, stated there was far more to him than prowess in qualifying.
“Being crew mates with him at present, and in current instances, I do know first-hand precisely how fast he is,” stated the 26-year-old.
“I believe to the general public, the Saturday performances are fairly stand-out, and I clearly see from behind the scenes on the information how fast he is strictly in these situations.
“However I believe moreover the precise uncooked pace he has, his capability to at all times put every thing collectively on that essential second, that lap that counts, may be very spectacular,” added Latifi.
“Managing little particulars within the race and plenty of peripheral issues he’s very, very robust at. I believe if he does go to Mercedes, we already noticed what he was able to doing final 12 months in Bahrain, so I’ve no doubts he’ll be on the tempo immediately.”