Russell still wants Hamilton partnership at Mercedes after Williams stay

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George Russell still has ambitions of partnering Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes despite being retained at Williams for another year.

This week, reports emerged that Valtteri Bottas has reached an agreement in principle to remain at the Brackley-based team for a fifth season in 2021.

That speculation was then somewhat confirmed when Williams confirmed Russell and Nicholas Latifi would be staying next year on Thursday.

For the British driver, it means another year will go by without getting the big promotion he's waiting for, and a move George is sure he could make successfully.

“I’m absolutely ready [for Mercedes],” he said in an interview for "I feel ready. I’ve had a year and a bit under my belt, and I would have the remainder of this year.

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“But there’s no hard feelings from Mercedes’ perspective, there’s nothing more they could do. Ultimately I have a contract here at Williams. 

“Claire was very firm with her feelings towards everything. She wasn’t ready to let me go, so I have to respect that decision and get on with it really and just move forward.”

The continued wait also means time is running out for Russell to have a chance alongside Hamilton, who is expected to sign a new two-year deal himself with Mercedes until the end of 2022.

On whether that is something he wants before his fellow Brit retires, Russell replied: “Absolutely. Lewis is the benchmark and I want to be compared against the best. 

“I think I know where my level is at but until I get tested by the best, I won’t truly know. I’m sure there’s bits I can learn from him, so I’d relish that challenge.”

For now though, George insists he is fully focused on helping Williams as they try to emerge from their recent downfall.

“Every time I jump in the car I’m out there to do the best job possible, I’m not thinking about any outside factors,” he explained. 

“They will come or [they will] not. The only thing I can control is the job I do on track and that hasn’t changed since day one. I’m just doing my utmost to prove what I can do.”