Williams chief 'loves' demanding Russell but knows Mercedes might come calling

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New Williams CEO Jost Capito loves "demanding" George Russell, even if he's not the easiest to work with.

The Briton begins his third season at the Grove-based squad in 2021, having established himself alongside Robert Kubica and Nicholas Latifi in his first two years on the Formula 1 grid.

As the clear lead driver, Russell has been a key part of helping Williams make progress, even if he is still yet to score a point for the team.

And Capito admits the 23-year-old has already shown him a level that far exceeds what you'd expect at that age.

“It’s impossible not to be impressed by George’s driving capabilities and also by his human capabilities and how far he is in his young age," he told Formula1.com.

"The conversations you have with him are fantastic. It’s not like with a young kid. He completely understands: understands what he is doing, understands his business.

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"[George] is fully focused on where he wants to go and he is fully aware about his capabilities, which are really good.

“It makes it not easy to work with him because he demands a lot, but I love drivers who demand a lot and really challenge the team and are never happy. 

"Those are the guys that will be world champion in the future," Capito concluded.

In response, Russell agreed with the Williams chief about being "not easy to work with" but insists he tries to be demanding in a "constructive" way.

Of course, heading into this season, there is likely to be more attention on George, after he turned heads with his performance standing in for Lewis Hamilton at last year's Sakhir Grand Prix.

But he says that race actually helps relieve some pressure on himself because he's already shown what he's capable of.

“Up to this point in my career I’ve always been very pushy,” Russell said. “I was very pushy with Mercedes in the first place to get the opportunity to race in GP3, in Formula 2, to get myself into Formula 1.

“But I think I had such a unique opportunity last year in Bahrain that I’m in a very comfortable position.

“I think that race was massive for myself and it gives me the opportunity to sit back, relax and really focus on the driving and what will happen will happen.

“I’d like to think I showed what I can do in a front-running car. Mercedes are my mentors, my managers, and we’ll just have to wait and see what comes in 2022.

“But that opportunity for me was huge and perhaps I would have been going about it slightly differently [this year] if I hadn’t had that opportunity last year.”

The ultimate goal is to be called up by Mercedes for 2022, and if that happens, Capito knows Williams are unlikely to stop Russell leaving.

“Whether you can keep him or not also depends a lot on what offers he has, and also how we work with him now and how he sees the development of the car for 2022," he said.

“If a driver gets an offer from Mercedes in the current situation, there are very few alternatives.”