Russell ignoring Mercedes talk but Williams 'assume' he will leave

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George Russell is remaining focused on the present but Williams admits expecting him to leave eventually.

The young Briton, who has been with the Grove-based team since 2019, finally got his chance to shine at the front as he subbed in for Lewis Hamilton at last year's Sakhir Grand Prix.

His performance that weekend, which saw a near-certain win taken away first by a tyre mix-up and then a puncture, only increased calls for Russell to get a full-time chance at Mercedes.

And with his Williams deal coming to an end after this year, team boss Simon Roberts was asked if he felt any chance of a renewal was futile.

“That feels like a long, long way away but who knows,” he was quoted by GPFans.

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“We’ve got to assume that this [being with Williams] is part of his career, that it is not going to be his whole career.

“It would be nice to think we’ve worked with one of the greats one day.”

Russell himself though isn't getting carried away about his future.

"At the moment I'm just respectful to everybody at Williams and I will just be giving my absolute all for that team, as they have done for me for the last two years," he told

"I don't like to think about the future. This sport changes incredibly quickly, people's perception of drivers - your reputation [can change fast] and outside factors, as we've seen [can come into play]."

Russell also reflected on the unexpected chance he got at Mercedes in Bahrain, claiming it wouldn't have been possible under the Williams family.

"Nobody could have predicted the events that happened," he said. "Telling me in the middle of the year that I'd have been leading the race, and that I should have won a race this year, and starting in the front row - because I didn't even think it would be possible to be... I didn't even think it was possible to get the chance for Mercedes, as a reserve driver.

"We'd spoken [with Williams] about this in the past and it was a 'no go'. But fortunately, the new owners were very open, and they wanted to give me that opportunity. Potentially, to see how I would perform as well.

"So I didn't even think that possibility [was realistic] even if Lewis or Valtteri [Bottas] were to miss a race. I didn't think it would be possible anyway."

Of course, Russell, like everyone, is also watching on to see if and when Hamilton re-signs at Mercedes for 2021 as George would be first in line should the seven-time world champion unexpectedly not sign on the dotted line.