Williams CEO Jost Capito has explained how he can see similarities between George Russell and Kimi Raikkonen after working with both during the early stages of their careers.
Capito previously worked for Sauber when Raikkonen joined the team as a rookie in 2001 and he believes that Russell has the same talent that Raikkonen showed back then.
"There is a lot in George, I see a lot [of] what I've seen in Kimi," Capito told F1's Beyond The Grid podcast. "His driving is brilliant."
The new Williams boss - who joined the team in December 2020 - saw the same kind of potential in Raikkonen when he was central to giving the Finn his break in Formula 1 20 years ago, something that proved to be a risky move at the time given Raikkonen's lack of race experience.
"I believed in him from the first time, when I had discussions with his managers I knew," Capito explained. "They gave me [his] name and I looked it up. I found out that he won races with a car in the rain on slicks, because he couldn't afford wets.
"Then I followed his racing here in 2000, and especially the Formula 3 race in Spa was absolutely impressive, where I think he had an engine failure or something in first free practice, and then in the rain he set the best time in qualifying.
"When he came the first time to Hinwil [Sauber's base], I think looking in his eyes I knew he is the guy you have to keep.
"With Kimi it was clear he would be exceptional. I had this feeling right from the beginning."
Like Raikkonen, Capito believes that Russell possesses a "natural talent", though has also praised him for continually pushing the team forwards rather than relying on that natural skill.