George Russell, born in Kings Lynn, England on February 15, 1998, is one of the most exciting young drivers in Formula 1.
He first entered the world of F1 in 2018 when Mercedes appointed him their reserve driver for the season. Alongside that role, he also competed in Formula 2 and won the title comfortably, finishing 68 points clear of Lando Norris, his closest rival.
He was rewarded with a spot on the F1 grid for the following year, with Mercedes putting him in a seat at Williams, and he immediately caught the eye with his performances.
In somewhat uncompetitive machinery, the only man he could regularly compete against was team-mate Robert Kubica, and he completely dominated that rivalry.
The Brit was particularly impressive in qualifying, beating Kubica in every single round and thus earning the nickname Mr Saturday in the process.
Things didn’t go quite so well for him on Sundays though with the Pole scoring one point while he failed to pick up any, being the only driver on the grid to do so. Nevertheless, that was mainly due to the poor car he was in, with his driving throughout the year being widely praised.
Unfortunately for him, he was given equally as poor a car the following year with Williams remaining the backmarkers of the grid.
As a result, his second season looked set to a similar story to the first, with him impressing on Saturday but unable to covert those starting positions into points in races.
That was partly his own fault though, with him making what he described as the biggest mistake of his career when, running in P10 behind the Safety Car in Imola, he crashed out.
At that point, he’d become just the 12th driver to compete in 30 races without scoring a point, and it looked like his wait would go on a while longer, but then a huge opportunity presented itself when Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 just before the Sakhir Grand Prix.
As fans throughout the sport had hoped, Russell was chosen by Mercedes to replace him for the weekend, and he didn’t disappoint them.
Despite having next to no time to get familiar with his car, he secured a front row start in qualifying, going less than half a tenth slower than team-mate for the weekend Valtteri Bottas.
He then passed the Finn to take the lead at the start of the race and pulled away, comfortably leading for 67 of the 87 laps. However, what looked like was a certain win was then taken away from him when he lost time in the pits due to a mix-up from the team and picked up a slow puncture soon afterwards.
As a result, he only finished in P9, and while he had finally scored the first points of his F1 career, he was devastated with the result.
The performance had enhanced his reputation hugely though and led to widespread calls for Mercedes to give him Valtteri Bottas’ seat for the following season. Ultimately though, such calls were ignored and he stayed at Williams.
Thankfully for him, the British team managed to make big steps forward in the off-season and finally gave him a car good enough to fight for places further up the field.
Despite that though, his season didn’t get off to a good start with himself and Bottas crashing at Imola. Straight after the collison, Russell got out of his car and hit Bottas, who was still in his, on the helmet, drawing criticism from many as a result. He later apologized for his actions.
It would be a while before things got much better for him after that as he failed to score any points in the opening 10 rounds, but he finally secured his first top-10 finish at the eleventh, the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He crossed the line in P9 and was classified P8 after Sebastian Vettel was disqualified, scoring his team’s first points since 2019. He was hugely emotional about doing so, tearing up in post-race interviews.
Russell’s F1 career then reached new heights a round later as he put in a stunning lap in a wet qualifying session in Spa to secure a P2 start, and that lap would ultimately give him his first-ever podium with very little racing taking the next day due to extreme rain, meaning the race finished in almost the identical order to how it started.
The good times continued after that with P9 and P10 finishes coming in Italy and Russia, putting him onto a total of 16 points for the season.
That tally was enough for him to finish the year in P15 in the standings and was also why Williams enjoyed their highest finishing position, P8, in four years.
An already excellent second half of 2021 was made all the sweeter by the fact that Merecedes had finally decided to promote him for 2022 and beyond, giving him Bottas’ seat.
That would give him the monumental task of fighting an intra-team battle with compatriot Hamilton, but after three years in which he displayed blistering pace, mental strength and serio8s development, he was ready for it.