Russell: Watching Hamilton prepared me for leading Williams

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George Russell says his time watching Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes helped to prepare him for life at Williams.

Perhaps against expectations, last year's F2 champion has become the clear lead driver at the Grove-based team, only losing to teammate Robert Kubica twice in the first 12 races.

His performances have been particularly impressive given Williams' lack of performance, with the 21-year-old still having plenty of reasons to race at 100%.

"Obviously I’m young and motivated and all of this, but also I see the light at the end of the tunnel," he said of his main motives for his confidence.

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"I’m enjoying the challenge. Not purely the on-track challenge but the off-track challenge of directing the team in the right direction, trying to be that leader.

"When there are 700 people back at the factory listening to every single word you say it puts a lot of pressure on the driver to make sure information you’re giving them is correct information.

"I’m enjoying being that person along with Robert to be the leader and be the guys that help turn the team around."

As a rookie on the grid, it would be considered quite the task to step up to a historic brand like Williams and try to help them out of a performance rut.

But Russell believes he was well-prepared by Mercedes for the role he has taken on.

"I knew what to expect coming into Formula 1," he explained. "I learned that a lot over the last two years with Mercedes and seeing how Lewis integrates with the team and seeing that with myself now.

"You can’t just turn up on a Friday and put in no effort with the team off the circuit and expect to be there. It’s all about having a transparent relationship and making sure everybody understands word for word what you mean."

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