New F1 supremo rates Russell highly

07 February 2021 21:56:13 GMTPlus10

Formula One's newly-appointed CEO Stefano Domenicali says that British driver George Russell is a future world champion.

Domenicali, who started his new role on 1st January, was team principal at Ferrari from 2008 to 2014 and is a big fan of the 22-year-old Williams driver.

Russell made his Formula One debut for Williams at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix but he failed to earn a point in his first season at the top level.

The Kings Lynn-born youngster also struggled last year before getting an unexpected opportunity to deputise for world champion Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes car at the Sakhir Grand Prix in December.

Having qualified in second place, narrowly pipped for pole position by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, Russell led for most of the race before a pit-stop error and a puncture dropped him down to ninth place.

That result gave the British driver his first world championship points and his performance impressed plenty of observers including Domenicali.

Hamilton, bidding to break Michael Schumacher's record of seven drivers championship titles this year, is still negotiating a new contract at Mercedes and there have been reports that Russell could be in line to replace him if a new deal is not agreed.

Asked whether he would prefer to have Russell or Hamilton at Mercedes this season, Domenicali said: "George has shown the potential and, as Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal] was saying, he will be a future champion, no doubt.

"So it's a matter of having both for me, with my responsibility, because they can both do great stuff for Formula 1."

George Russell is 3001.00 to win the World Drivers' Championship this season while Lewis Hamilton is 1.25 to retain his title.

View all Formula One betting