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Explained: George Russell's F1 career history after starring in Belgium qualifying

Jake Nichol August 28, 2021
F1 Grand Prix of Belgium - Qualifying
Photo by John Thys - Pool/Getty Images

George Russell starred in Belgium F1 qualifying for tomorrow’s grand prix. The Williams driver secured a shock front row position, but what is his Formula One career history to date?

George Russell stars in Belgium F1 qualifying

In torrential rain at Spa, George Russell qualified his Williams a shock second on the grid.

Russell lost pole in Belgium in the closing seconds of the session to Max Verstappen of Red Bull by 0.321s.

Russell out-qualified the likes of Lewis Hamilton (third), Daniel Ricciardo (fourth) and Sebastian Vettel (fifth).

It is the first front row for Russell as a Williams driver, and the team’s first, on merit, since the 2014 German GP with Valtteri Bottas.

The session was red flagged after a big accident for McLaren’s Lando Norris in Q3.

The Briton got a snap of oversteer in the middle of Eau Rogue in torrential conditions, and was spat into the barrier.

Norris has been taken to hospital as a precautionary measure for a X-ray, after holding his elbow following the accident.

Where has George Russell raced in F1 before?

In 2018, Russell claimed the Formula 2 title and was promoted to a race seat in F1 with Williams for ’19.

The 2019 Williams was dreadfully off the pace, leaving Russell as the only driver to not score a point in that year’s drivers’ championship.

Williams was closer to the field in 2020, although Russell still did not score a point for the team.

At the 2020 Sakhir GP, he was drafted into Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton, who was sidelined with covid-19.

Russell qualified on the front row at that race, and could have won but for a Mercedes pitstop problem and later puncture.

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He scored his first F1 points with ninth place and an extra point for fastest lap.

Hamilton tested negative before the next race, meaning Russell returned to Williams for the Abu Dhabi GP.

This season, Russell scored his first points as a Williams driver in the chaotic Hungarian GP.

He took ninth place on the road at the Hungaroring.

After Sebastian Vettel was disqualified, Russell took eighth place – worth four points.

Will Russell race for Mercedes in 2022?

Russell is a contender for a 2022 seat alongside Hamilton at Mercedes.

The younger Briton has long been a member of the Mercedes junior academy, and has tested often for the team.

Team boss Toto Wolff promised post-qualifying that his decision over whether to promote Russell to Mercedes or keep Bottas would be made “soon.”

Should Russell be promoted to Mercedes for a 2022 F1 seat, he would become the fifth driver to race for the team since it returned in ’10.

The others are Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg, Hamilton and Bottas.

Photo by Tolga Bozoglu – Pool/Getty Images

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Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, Motorsport.com and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.