Russell needs better car, teammate before joining Mercedes - Button

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George Russell needs to race in a better car against a stronger teammate before joining Mercedes, Jenson Button says.

The young Briton has been leading the charge at Williams since stepping up to Formula 1 from F2 at the start of last year, but is yet to score a point in his career due to the team's lack of competitiveness.

Instead, his only achievements of note have come in qualifying, where he has made Q2 in the past three races and is yet to have been beaten on a Saturday by his teammate.

Even so, the expectation is that Russell will be first in line for a Mercedes seat when either Valtteri Bottas or Lewis Hamilton leave the Brackley-based team in the future.

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But before making that significant jump to the front of the grid, Button would like to see George prove himself in the rough and tumble of the midfield.

“Going up against Lewis is tough anyway but when you’re that inexperienced it’s really difficult,” the 2009 world champion told Sky Sports.

“I would love to see him in kind of a Renault or Racing Point with a very competitive teammate and going up against them because he’s confident, he has proven his speed, his fitness which you really need in Formula 1 now, and his feedback because Williams have made good progress from last year to this year.

“But we need to see him against someone that’s also very competitive.”

It is true that Russell hasn't had the toughest competition from across the garage in Robert Kubica, who hadn't competed in F1 for eight years before returning last year and rookie Nicholas Latifi.

And highlighting just how uncompetitive Williams has been over the 18 months, last Sunday's race marked a usually insignificant first for the 22-year-old in F1.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever overtaken another F1 car that isn’t a Williams,” he revealed.

“I can’t think of any other time that’s happened. It’s the first time on pure pace we’ve actually been quicker than another car and that was such a nice feeling!

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“In the past, I’ve found myself out of position, higher than we should’ve been, and it’s not a nice feeling battling with guys in a car that is considerably slower and has much less downforce. It’s very difficult for a driver to defend against someone who’s just got more grip.

“For me, it was really nice to have that feeling back of actually being the driver on the attack and not just on my team-mate but on another team.

“Both myself and Nicholas got past Kimi. It was a bit more tricky against Giovinazzi, but it was nice to be able to close that gap on him and at least put up a fight.”