Ex-Formula 1 driver David Coulthard has heaped praise on George Russell for his performances amid Mercedes' early-season struggles, but now wants him to play a key role in returning the team to winning ways.
Russell made the move to Mercedes - after three years at Williams - for the start of F1's new technical era, but the reigning Constructors' World Champions have dropped behind Ferrari and Red Bull in the pecking order.
With the Silver Arrows trying to find a solution to their car issues, Russell delivered back-to-back top-five finishes in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, comfortably outpacing experienced teammate Lewis Hamilton across the latter event.
Speaking about Russell's start to life at Mercedes in an interview with UK newspaper The Mirror, Coulthard said: "I've been super-impressed. For me, he's a brilliant all-round package.
"He has speed, he has excellent communication skills; he's a modern version of a top professional racing driver.
"I thought that before the season started and I've seen nothing since to change my mind."
Coulthard praises Russell for dealing with Mercedes' struggles
Applauding him for a strong start in challenging circumstances, Coulthard says he now wants Russell "to be the voice" alongside Hamilton and help to turn Mercedes' fortunes around.
"The honeymoon period where you can do no wrong changes quickly, particularly when there's an expectation that - given the car you are driving - you should be in the top three," he commented.
"What's actually happened is that Ferrari and Red Bull have come flying out of the blocks, and there are some who might judge that George's first couple of races have not been up to standard. I wouldn't agree with that.
"I think he's handled the car and the situation well. You can only drive the car you've been given.
"His next job will be, along with Lewis Hamilton, to be the voice that enables his Mercedes team to develop a winning car."
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Young British drivers "a breath of fresh air" for Formula 1
Given what he has seen from Russell to date, Coulthard went as far as to describe the 24-year-old - and fellow British youngster Lando Norris - as someone for his own son to look up to.
"Honestly, I've loved to see what George is bringing. First, because he's British. And secondly, because he's bright-eyed, enthusiastic and an excellent communicator," Coulthard added.
"It's a gift to be a professional sportsperson. He's embracing it and I think it's inspirational.
"I've got a 13-year-old son and I want him to look up to the likes of George and Lando, and they've been a breath of fresh air.
"There have been periods where it's a bit staid, but you cannot say that about Formula 1 at the moment, and a lot of that is down to the excitement those two are generating."
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Mike Seymour, and Thomas Maher look back over the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in Jeddah, which was won in dramatic fashion by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.