Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has praised George Russell’s integration into the team since his arrival from Williams, and is particularly impressed with his attitude.
Russell spent three years racing towards the back of the field for the Grove-based team, and he scored an exquisite podium last season in Belgium while scoring points on four occasions.
He was signed to replace the departing Valtteri Bottas after the Finn went over to Alfa Romeo, and the partnership between himself and Sir Lewis Hamilton in the Silver Arrows was a much anticipated one.
The two Britons have had to show a lot of fortitude this year though amid continued struggles from Mercedes to get to grips with the new technical regulations, and the ground effect aerodynamics have continually played havoc with their car.
The “porpoising” they have been suffering has led to difficulty understanding where the pace of the car really is, and the inconsistency was exemplified by Russell’s contrasting weekend in Miami.
The 24-year-old topped the second practice session after ending the first in P2, but he qualified down in 12th, before rising back up to fifth in the race as the confounding issues continue to hit the eight-time champions.
At the end of 2015, Russell had to convinced to stick at the Mercedes Formula 1 programme instead of heading to DTM, and Wolff reveals that his future in the pinnacle of motorsport was never in doubt.
“When you look at George’s track record in winning the title in F3, in his rookie year, and then an F2, we knew that he was very good,” he said, quoted by GPFans.
“Then obviously the Williams school added its part, so we were never in any doubt that he would be very good.”
The Austrian commends Russell’s ability to keep a cool head and adopt a calm philosophy irrespective of whether the car is quick or not.
“And you can see that it’s materialising on the track. I like his approach very much,” added Wolff.
“He’s very rational, whether he is fastest in P2, or whether he’s eleventh, it’s just about applying the science and trying to make the car faster.”
As for the dynamic between his drivers, Wolff divulges that he takes a lot of joy out of watching their relationship grow, while their podium a piece has helped them keep their heads above water in the midfield battle, so he could not be happier.
“I enjoy seeing them working together, the level is high from both of them,” he stated.
“That has put us in a decent situation in the Constructors’ Championship, so I couldn’t wish for any better pairing.”
Mercedes sit third in the Constructors’ Championship after the opening five rounds of the season, 62 points behind leaders Ferrari.