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Lewis Hamilton has six-titles and will be aiming to add another one this year. But the British driver is already 35 and Mercedes will soon have to start planning for live after him.
But Williams deputy team boss Claire Williams suggests the team already have a young driver waiting in the wings more than capable taking the hot seat in George Russell.
Russell had a challenging debut season in the sport, battling it out at the back of the grid in the slowest car with Williams.
Russell earned wide praise for his debut season, finishing ahead of seasoned team-mate Robert Kubica on 17 occasions.
Williams is desperate to avoid losing Russell to Mercedes so early in his development, but she can already see some likeness between him and Hamilton.
“George has the whole package,” she said. “He looks like an unassuming, nice guy, but he has a layer of steel within him which he has been taught by his parents.
“He hasn’t had a silver motor racing spoon in his mouth since he was born. He hasn’t had it easy, and the family haven’t had it easy to get him to this point either.
“He is fairly similar to Lewis Hamilton in that sense. When you don’t have it gifted to you, it makes you hungry, it makes you fight. That brings a certain edge to a driver, but George also understands that it doesn’t just take a natural talent to achieve that. He can always learn, always grow and build. He is only 22 and he has a very long career ahead of him in this sport.”
As part of Mercedes’ junior driver programme, Russell has been touted to take a seat with the Silver Arrows soon.
“George is such an instrumental part of this team, and I want to give him a car so he doesn’t look elsewhere,” she added.
“He has a long-term contract with us and I would expect to see him in a Williams car until that contract expires. But Mercedes is Mercedes, and I never want to stand in the way of giving a driver a great opportunity, if our team is not in a competitive position.”