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Capito shares text message from Button about Russell's lap

Williams team boss Jost Capito says he was contacted after Belgian GP qualifying by Jenson Button, who heaped praise on George Russell for his standout performance.

Jost Capito has revealed that former World Champion Jenson Button texted him immediately after George Russell's incredible Belgian Grand Prix qualifying performance, describing it as "one of the best laps" he's ever seen. Williams driver Russell took advantage of the wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps to make it through to Q3 and qualify second on the grid for Sunday's race, splitting Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. Russell took praise from several rival drivers and team bosses following the session, with Capito also sharing a message from Button, who returned to Williams as a Senior Advisor ahead of the 2021 F1 season. "Immediately after the lap, I got a text message from Jenson, and Jenson wrote, 'That was one of the best laps I've ever seen in my life'. I think that sums it up," said Williams team boss Capito after qualifying. "It was an absolutely stunning performance from George." Capito added: "Coming into Q3 for us is a fantastic achievement. Then you can't lose, you can just win. We would have never believed being P2." Russell is up against Valtteri Bottas for the seat at Mercedes alongside Hamilton in 2022, with Toto Wolff revealing on Saturday evening that a decision has been made – albeit not announced. Capito says Russell is clearly worthy of a promotion, but that there will be a place for him at Williams if Bottas gets the nod. "He deserves to get the seat at Mercedes," said Capito, when asked about Russell's future. "I think he enjoys the season with us, and if he wouldn't get the offer from Mercedes, if he won't get it or whatever, for sure he's happy to stay with us." Earlier in the weekend, Capito spoke of Williams' driver options for next season and beyond, should Russell depart for Mercedes. "I think there are different options and different strategies," Capito commented. "It could be an advantage to have an experienced driver, but it could be an advantage to have a rookie, and you will never know at the end what would be better or not as good. "But we are looking into the various options – drivers who have a lot of experience, drivers who have some experience, and drivers who have no experience." Capito has also suggested that Nicholas Latifi will remain with the team into the 2022 F1 season. When asked about Latifi's comments that he feels ready to lead the British outfit if Russell leaves, Capito answered: "I agree with him. I think he is maybe not now [ready] yet, but he is improving really race by race. "I'm sure by the end of the season he is ready to do that, especially his personality is in the right spot to lead the team."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying