Williams common Russell was drafted in by guardian crew Mercedes for the second race in Bahrain final December after Lewis Hamilton was dominated out following a constructive take a look at for COVID-19.
Russell certified second and dominated the vast majority of the race on the Bahrain Worldwide Circuit’s outer loop, just for a tyre mix-up by Mercedes and a late puncture to disclaim him a attainable victory. He finally completed the race ninth, however marking his maiden F1 factors.
Russell returned to Williams for the subsequent race in Abu Dhabi, and is embarking on his third full season with the crew in 2021, together with his contract set to run out on the finish of the season.
Requested what his gorgeous show on the Sakhir race modified for him, Russell stated he “discovered loads of issues from that have”, giving him better confidence and perception in his personal means after being handed a front-running automotive.
“What was very fascinating for me was I certified second, which was my greatest qualifying ever – I feel beforehand it was twelfth – and I used to be disenchanted to not be on pole,” stated Russell. “Simply since you’re abruptly on the entrance of a grid, it does not change that purpose, that satisfaction you get by getting absolutely the most out of your tools.
“Equally coming away from that occasion, I had just a few powerful days. However equally I put it behind me, I discovered from it. I used to be very grateful to Mercedes and Williams for giving me the possibility, and finally I needed to see that race as a victory in itself, even when I did not get the trophy on the finish of the day.
“[I am] then coming into the season with extra confidence and perception in myself, and that is nice for me, nice for the crew and nice for everybody. So yeah, it was an excellent alternative.”
Mercedes opted to cross over designated reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne so as to draft in Russell as Hamilton’s substitute for the Sakhir race.
The crew has introduced Vandoorne and Mercedes Components E teammate Nyck de Vries will share the F1 reserve function in 2021, whereas additionally it is in talks with Nico Hulkenberg about serving as extra back-up.
However Russell was not drawn when he requested how these appointments might impression on a attainable repeat of his stand-in look for Mercedes in 2021.
“I imply nothing official has been determined,” stated Russell. “Clearly that was all organized final minute for us final 12 months.
“They have to be ready as a result of these items can occur on a Friday night time, for one more driver to have the ability to do the race, however I feel we’ll simply cross that bridge once we get there.”