‘Russell’s style in between Hamilton and Button’

Williams’ Dave Robson feels George Russell has a unique driving style between that of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

A part of the Mercedes junior set-up, Russell first made the step up to Formula 1 in 2019 with Williams, and after three seasons with the Grove outfit, he now prepares for the biggest challenge so far in his career, having been called up to Mercedes for 2022.

For a team-mate he will have the most decorated racer on the current grid, that being Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time World Champion and record 103-time race winner.

As for how the two compare based on driving style, Robson sees some similarities, placing Russell’s between that of Hamilton and 2009 World Champion Jenson Button, a former team-mate to Hamilton at McLaren.

Robson, currently Williams’ head of vehicle performance, worked as Button’s race engineer back at McLaren when the Briton joined in 2010 to partner Hamilton.

George Russell, Mercedes, tests the 18-inch tyres. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Asked how Russell’s style compares to that of both Hamilton and Button, Robson told Motorsport.com: “A good question. I think Jenson and Lewis were quite different and in terms of driving style, George is also different.

“He’s kind of in between the two. To a certain extent it’s about using the tyres and they’ve changed, so I don’t know what Lewis’ style is like these days.”

Russell impressed throughout his time at Williams, with 2021 proving to be his strongest season yet, collecting 16 points.

The highlight undoubtedly was Belgium, where Russell qualified P2 in the wet conditions, that becoming his race result when the Belgian GP was abandoned after two laps behind the Safety Car.

Russell then qualified P3 in Russia on a drying track.

Of course, now moving on to Mercedes as team-mate to Hamilton is a completely different challenge, but Robson praised Russell’s ability to adapt and continuously improve, believing he has the talent to deliver at Mercedes.

“The most important thing is that George is able to adapt,” said Robson.

“He drives quite instinctively and I think he continues to improve. He has the talent.”

 

That ability to adapt will be crucial in 2022, since as Robson pointed out, competing at the front of the pack is a whole different ball game to Williams’ situation, where breaking into the points was a huge achievement for Russell.

“I think the weekends for these guys are different than for others,” Robson stated.

“That’s especially true on Saturday, but the whole dynamic of the race is different when you’re at the front.”

 

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