Red Bull driver and the current Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen is full of praise for Mercedes driver George Russell, predicting the 25-year-old Briton is a potential Formula 1 World Champion, a view shared by Lando Norris.
Russell, although being appreciative of the comments made on him by the Dutchman, believes that there are a “handful of drivers on the grid right now” who are also equally capable.
Making F1 his debut in 2019, George Russel has been a strong performer in the racetrack. The emerging Brit joined Mercedes AMG Petronas last season, and since then, he has been going toe-to-toe with the Brackley-based team’s other driver, seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
After losing the title to Max Verstappen in 2021, Mercedes are in the racetrack to secure the Championship back again. Their chances are slim, however, which is mainly due to the W14, Mercedes’ “faulty” F1 car. Due to the car’s struggling performances, Russell managed to score only 18 points so far in this season.
Verstappen and Norris are full of praise for Russell
Russell secured his maiden victory at Sao Paulo last year but finished the season in fourth place. And despite the scores, rivals Max Verstappen and Lando Norris believe that the 25-year-old will one day be the F1 world champion.
Max Verstappen, the outright favourite on 2023 F1 winner odds, is well convinced that George Russell has all the necessary skills to become a Formula 1 world champion in the near future.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Verstappen said that George is a part of a generation where himself, Lando Norris, and Charles Leclern grew up together. He was referring to the earlier karting days of their respective careers.
“I raced against George a bit in karting, though he’s a year younger. You could see straight away he was good. It came naturally to him – he didn’t need a lot of laps to be quick. He has the potential to be a World Champion,” stated Verstappen, himself now a double F1 title holder.
It’s no secret that, Russell and Verstappen (also 25-year-old) were rivals during their earlier days starting in karting. However, 38-time Grand Prix winner, Max has four more years of F1 experience than Russell, whose CV only boasts one F1 victory.
Russell: Nice to hear positive things being spoken about you
In an interview with TalkSPORT, Lando was requested to give the name of a rival who could potentially be a F1 title contender. The McLaren driver immediately said: “You could say, George.”
“Yeah, I mean obviously it’s always nice to hear positive things being spoken about you,” George Russell replied humbly to all the praise he received, saying that there are plenty other skillful drivers that could be title contenders.
In an interview with the Square Mile, the Brit said: “there’s probably a handful of drivers on the grid right now who are all World Champion worthy, some of which are already World Champions, some of which haven’t won World Championships yet and would definitely win a world championship if they were in the right car at the right time.“If my opportunity is in three, four, five, or even ten years, so be it.”
George Russell’s performances have deteriorated a bit, owing to the nature of the Mercedes W14. The 25-year old believes that he has enough experience under his belt now, and he will be ready to aim for the title when Mercedes get their car correct and ready.