Mercedes Technical Director Mike Elliot has paid tribute to the impact that George Russell has had in his first full season with the Silver Arrows. A member of Mercedes' junior driver programme since 2017, Russell made his F1 race debut in 2019 with the Mercedes-powered Williams team, and impressed many in the paddock with his efforts in limited machinery. The Briton had a big chance to impress at the front when he stepped up to Mercedes for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix to replace the Covid-stricken Lewis Hamilton, and looked set for a fairy-tale debut win only for a botched pit stop and a puncture to halt his progress. It had long been rumoured that Russell would eventually step up to Mercedes on a full-time basis to replace Valtteri Bottas, and he duly did so for 2022. However, hopes of winning races and challenging for the championship have had to be recalibrated, as the previously dominant Mercedes team have fallen behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the pecking order this year, with the W13 notably suffering from bouncing issues earlier in the season.
Russell impressing against Hamilton
Despite being yet to win a Grand Prix, Russell has continued to impress, scoring regular podium finishes to sit fourth in the Drivers' standings with 207 points – 27 points and two places ahead of seven-time World Champion teammate Hamilton – prompting Elliot to hail both Russell's contribution and his personal growth during his first season with the Silver Arrows. "You expect racing drivers to be pushy; they have a limited career and they want to win," Elliot told media. "I wouldn't describe George as over-pushy, I think he's working really hard with the team. I think what's been really nice is to see him grow. "You sit down next to a seven-time World Champion at the table, and bringing your contribution has got to be tough at the beginning. "But I think George has had a big part to play in the team, and I think he's doing a really good job."