Max Verstappen sings George Russell’s praise as he targets Lewis Hamilton defeat

George Russell claimed the GP3 and Formula 2 titles in back-to-back seasons, in 2017 and 2018.

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen has tipped Mercedes rival George Russell has a “potential” world champion, with the Dutchman having praised the British driver for having been able to “jump straight in and battle at the front”.

Russell is certainly an incredibly talented driver, with the 25-year-old having led Williams from the moment he joined the side in 2019, following his Formula 2 title in 2018.

He is without a doubt the future of Mercedes, especially given the fact that he became just the third team-mate to have ever beaten seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship.

That alone highlights just how special Russell is as a driver, let alone the fact that his titles in GP3 (known now as Formula 3) and F2 came in back-to-back seasons.

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Verstappen was full of praise for the Briton in a recent interview, where he admitted that during Russell’s karting days it was visible “straight away he was good”.

“I raced against George a bit in karting, though he’s a year younger,” Verstappen told the Daily Mail.

“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 could jump straight in and battle at the front.

“He [Russell] has the potential to be a world champion.” 

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Whilst Russell could very well become an F1 world champion, the likelihood is that it won’t be this season.

Mercedes endured a horrific start to the season in Bahrain, with the Germans already contemplating whether they should switch the concept of the W14.

Russell’s maiden win in Brazil last season is supposedly to blame, according to Russell, with the Brit having admitted that his win in Sao Paulo led Mercedes “down a bit of a wrong path”.

“Yeah, perhaps Brazil did lead us down a bit of a wrong path, because we did feel like we were improving as a team, that we were going in the right direction,” Russell told

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“And that needs some analysis as well, because we did improve throughout last year, there’s no two ways about it.

“Especially towards the end of the year, we truly thought we were onto something, and the W14 was probably a more extreme version of the car we had at the end of last year.

“But clearly, others have gone in different directions. We’ve gone further in that direction, and it wasn’t the right one.”