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Russell: I am a Williams driver for 2021

George Russell has dampened speculation of an early move to Mercedes after his impressive performance as stand-in for seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, on a night in which he comprehensively outshone his temporary teammate Valtteri Bottas.

The 22-year-old Briton fuelled some chatter when he said in Bahrain last Sunday that he hoped he had given Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff a driver selection headache “not just for 2022, maybe sooner”.

“That was just a throwaway remark in the heat of the moment,” Russell told reporters at Formula One’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Thursday.

“Obviously emotions were high and what have you. I have a contract and am a Williams driver for 2021.”

Bottas is out of contract at the end of next season when Mercedes-managed Russell will be firmly in the frame for a move.

The Briton revealed also that his mother and sister were in tears after the race, “We live this together, this sport, and it´s so passionate. Emotions are so high and this was my first opportunity not just to win but to actually score points.

“That was such a big difference. Having it taken away from us not once but twice was difficult. But having time to reflect on the weekend, I´ve left with my head held high and proud of the job we managed to achieve,” added the 22-year-old.

George was on standby from Williams and was set to replace Lewis again in Abu Dhabi this weekend, but the World Champion tested negative and it will be business as usual this weekend in the Mercedes pit garage.