George Russell's future in F1 is definitely a hot topic for the 2021 season. Last season when Lewis Hamilton contracted COVID-19 and Russell stepped in for him for the Sakhir GP weekend, the rumors of Russell possibly going to Mercedes started to circulate in the F1 paddock. If you have followed Russell's career before he entered F1 with the Williams team then you are aware of how well he has performed in the previous series leading into F1. The 23 year old British driver has three championship titles so far to his name, one for the FIA Formula 2 championship, one for the GP3 Series, and one for the BRDC Formula 4 Championship.
However, since joining the Williams team Russell has not been able to really showcase his talent because of the ongoing struggles that the Williams team has had with providing him with a suitable car that can deliver points every race weekend. At the press conference for the Belgian GP both Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen chimed in on why they believe George Russell should have a seat and drive for a top team like Mercedes:
Leclerc replied: "I think it's great if George gets that seat because he deserves it.
"It is always very difficult to judge in Formula 1 because the cars are so different and obviously with George being at Williams it is always difficult to judge how much of a good job he is doing.
"But I mean, he's consistently there and showing good things, and also in the past I've raced with him and I know how strong George is.
"So, he definitely deserves that spot and I think it will be great to have such a talented driver in that seat."
Verstappen said, "for sure George is very quick" and added "he can't stay where he is forever".
"He deserves more," continued the Red Bull racer. "But at the end of the day, it's up to Mercedes to make the call. Not really from my side.
"But, for sure, I rate him very high as a driver and he is of course very young as well so it's natural that the younger guys at one point move up – and especially the good drivers."
It's no secret that George Russell has had his sights on a Mercedes seat for three years now from his early F2 days and as a reserve driver for the Brackley-based team. Russell's quest for challenging himself is linked to his admiration for the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. The former F2 champ believes the true test to how good he really is as a driver can only be determined side by side with Hamilton as a teammate, who he considers to be the best driver currently in F1.
When Russell was asked about a possible seat at Mercedes during his press conference with Valtteri Bottas at the Belgian GP he had this to say:
"Obviously, as any driver, they want to go against the best," said Russell. "So, you want to put yourself against [such a driver] and see how you fare.
"It will be probably an honour for anybody to get that opportunity. It's obviously all hypothetical at the moment.
"The same comments as I've said three years ago [before joining F1 from Formula 2 still apply] – if I could choose to race against anybody as my teammate, Lewis would be the one."