Norfolk driver to replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for Sakhir GP
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk Formula One driver George Russell will replace Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for this weekend’s Sakhir GP.
Hamilton has been ruled out after contracting coronavirus and Mercedes-backed Russell will step into the breach.
Russell has been with Mercedes since 2017 and he is effectively on a three-year loan at Williams, where he has impressed since making his F1 debut last season.
Once Hamilton's absence from the first race of his career was confirmed after a positive Covid-19 test and retest, Mercedes approached Williams to see if a deal to release Russell was possible - with confirmation arriving on Tuesday morning.
Russell, 22, who was born in King’s Lynn and grew up in Tydd St Giles, near Wisbech, is looking to seize his opportunity.
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"Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everybody at Williams for giving me this opportunity. I might be wearing a different race suit this weekend, but I'm a Williams driver and I'll be cheering my team on every step of the way," said Russell, who will partner Valtteri Bottas, and be looking for his first points in F1 this weekend.
"I see this as a great chance to learn from the best outfit on the grid right now and to come back as an improved driver, with even more energy and experience to help push Williams further up the grid. A big thank you also to Mercedes for putting their faith in me.
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"Obviously, nobody can replace Lewis, but I'll give my all for the team in his absence from the moment I step in the car. Most importantly, I wish him a speedy recovery. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity and can't wait to get out on track this week."
Jack Aitken, a 25-year-old British-Korean, will race in Russell's place at Williams for his F1 debut.