George Russell – Who is Britain’s Rising Star?
We’ve all heard of 7 time World Champion Lewis Hamilton but who is Britain’s new talent?
Written By Lucy Bennett, Edited By Ryan Lack
Hailing from King’s Lynn in the North East of England, George Russell was born on the 15th of February 1998 to his parents Steve and Alison. He is the youngest of 3 children, his sister Cara and his brother Benjy.
Growing up in the area of Cambridgeshire, George started Karting at the age of 7 after he spent lots of time around karting tracks because his brother Benjy was a competitive karter. At the age of 10, George had progressed to the Cadet class and ended up becoming the MSA British Champion but the honours didn’t stop there. A year later he moved to the Rotax Mini Max category where he enjoyed a lot of success by becoming Super One British champion, Formula Kart Stars Champion and also won the Kartmasters Grand Prix.
Russell graduated to the KF3 Class in 2011 and also enjoyed a lot of success there too. He won the SKUSA Supernationals title and became CIK-FIA European Champion, a title he successfully held for 2 years. Coming to the end of his Karting career, George finished 19th in the KF1 CIK-FIA World Championship
Russell overtaking a fellow Karter
In 2014 Russell made the step up to where most Formula drivers move on to after karting – Formula Renault 2.0. Originally he signed with Prema Powerteam but changed last minute to the Koiranen GP team. During the course of the season, Russell missed 1 round due to illness but fortunately finished fourth in the Championship, including a maiden podium at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Russell also competed in two rounds of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 championship, featuring in the Moscow round where he competed for Koiranen GP, before making the switch to Tech 1 Racing for the finale at Jerez. This time he won the race from pole position.
As well as competing in Formula Renault 2.0 Russell competed in BRDC Formula 4 with Lanan Racing. In the final race at Snetterton, he was in a four-way battle for the title. He came on top by claiming pole position and winning, beating fellow title rival Arjun Maini by a mere 3 points. As a reward for this, he tested the Arden Motorsport Formula Three car for the following season.
In 2015, George Russell graduated to Formula Three and raced with Carlin. His first victory came at Silverstone in the opening weekend. Another two podiums followed, one at Spa-Francorchamps and one at the Norisring earning him a 6th place finish in the Championship finishing behind only Charles Leclerc in the Rookie Championship Standings. For 2016, Russell made the switch to Hitech GP. This proved successful as he won twice landing him a superb place of 3rd in the final standings.
In 2017, Russell competed in the GP3 series with ART GP whom he had success with. A solid start to the season saw him finish 4th and 5th at the Circuit de Catalunya. After more poles, wins and consecutive podiums finishes, he took the lead of the Championship. In total, he won 4 races, 3 pole positions and five podiums to seal the GP3 title.
George continued his career with ART GP by securing a seat in F2 for 2018. Alongside that, he was confirmed as the Mercedes-F1 team’s reserve driver. On his debut he qualified 2nd but couldn’t turn it into a win as he finished 5th. He was denied a maiden victory in the feature race at Baku by a late safety car which bunched up the pack and caused drama when the race restarted. He did manage to come from 12th on the grid to take the win in the following Sprint race. He also took a win in Spain and followed that up with a p4 in the Sprint race. He would eventually beat fellow Brit, Lando Norris, in a season long fight for the F2 title in which Russell prevailed.
Russell after winning the F2 Title
13th October 2018. The date George Russell secured a seat with Williams Racing for the 2019 season alongside Robert Kubica. Although he had a massive amount of talent, the car couldn’t match him and he was a backmarker for most of the season although he did cross the line 13th in the chaotic German GP. After that race he was promoted to 11th as both Alfa Romeo drivers received penalties. The 2020 season would prove his talent in the Williams. After a delayed start, we came back to Austria but it ended in retirement for him. The nickname ‘Mr Saturday’ was given to him as he made it into Q2 on many occasions in the Williams. But the season wouldn’t be his happiest. In the Emilia Romanga GP Russell crashed under the safety car whilst he was in the points, for what could’ve been his first points, he could’ve scored them in the Tuscan GP but came 11th. His standout moment was when he replaced Hamilton, who had tested positive for Covid 19, for the Sakhir GP. He came out on top in free practice session one and free practice session two but he didn’t have the best free practice three. In Qualifying he came so close to beating Valtteri Bottas for pole position but was on the front row and (for the first time in 36 premier class races) he was out-qualified by his teammate. His race began with a great start over Bottas and took the lead but it didn’t last long. A tyre mishap and a puncture would cost him his maiden F1 win. He would later return to Williams for the Abu Dhabi GP. As of now he is currently contracted to Williams but he may soon become a force to be reckoned with at Mercedes.