George Russell performance in Sakhir last year and the continuing strong step forwards this year. That has made an impression on Dave Robson, the teams head of vehicle performance, so why does he believe the twenty-three-year-old is close to Sir Lewis Hamilton?
Russell “Very close” to Hamilton in early career
Williams head of vehicle performance Dave Robson believes George Russell is achieving “very close” to Sir Lewis Hamilton’s early career performances and “has the potential” to emulate his subsequent success.
Robson worked with Hamilton when he made his debut with McLaren in 2007 before the seven-times champion went on to win his first world title the following season. Speaking to Motorsport.com, after the seven-times champion claimed his hundredth pole in Barcelona he explained how it had been clear from early in Hamilton’s time with McLaren that there was “something” he “always had” that suggested the Briton had potential to succeed in motorsport.
Robson also said he had seen similar traits in Russell, a junior driver for Hamilton’s Mercedes operation and regularly tipped to follow in his footsteps when he first met Russell ahead of his rookie F1 season in 2019.
He explained “I think there are definitely some similarities there, and they were obvious from the first time I met George and we ran him in the simulator in Grove. Then we went up and ran him around the airfield in a road car.
“And to do it against some fairly impressive teammates along the way as well [is impressive]. I’ve obviously not worked with him for quite a few years, but it’s something he’s always had, I think.”
“There is just that something about him. That special quality that you can’t really define. That was obvious right from when he was just a kid and [McLaren] took him testing at Elvington [airfield, for a straight-line aerodynamic test run] – going up and down the runway.”
Robson says that Hamilton got bored stiff from running up and down a runway where most were just chuffed to bits to be in an F1 car.
One of the defining events of 2020 was the murder of George Floyd, his death in Minneapolis sparked calls for change in the treatment of BAME people. So where is F1, and is it beginning on the path to change, on the first anniversary of his death, Sir Lewis Hamilton called for his legacy to continue.
George Floyd one year on
One year on from the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Sir Lewis Hamilton has said the world must continue to work for equality to honour the legacy. Last month the police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury.
Floyd’s death became the catalyst for the social justice movement in sports last summer. Hamilton, a seven-time F1 champion and the sport’s only Black driver, has become a leading voice in calling for an end to racial injustice. It also became coupled with the pandemic, as BAME people have been more likely to die from coronavirus partly caused by inequities.
Last year he set up the Hamilton Commission, aimed at creating a pathway for people from ethnic minority backgrounds to Formula One. While Mercedes and F1 have made their own commitments to improve representation from underrepresented groups, as part of We Race As One.
On Tuesday, to mark the first anniversary of Floyd’s death, Hamilton posted a tribute on social media and said the work cannot stop.
He wrote: “What does justice mean for a daughter who lost her dad? For a woman who lost her partner? For a man who lost his brother? What does justice mean when a man’s life is stolen because of nothing more than the colour of his skin?”
“George wasn’t supposed to die that day. One year later, the impact of his life and its unfair ending remains with us. Today, we will mourn George and keep his loved ones in our prayers.”
In 2020, 1,127 people in the US were killed by police, according to data collected by Mapping Police Violence, a research collaborative that uses a variety of state and regional databases to determine the number and nature of most but not all police-involved deaths.
The majority of them being BAME or non-white.
Red Bull’s motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has a reputation for his brutal honesty, that has sometimes caused shock and controversy. However, its new driver Sergio Perez is enjoying it…
Perez enjoying Marko’s brutally honest approach
Sergio Perez says he is enjoying Helmut Marko’s brutally honest approach since joining Red Bull, saying he has a lot of respect for the team’s motorsport advisor. The Mexican joined the team at the start of the season following his departure from what is now Aston Martin after a maiden win at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
However, in the first four Grands Prix, he has struggled to match teammate Max Verstappen which is to be expected because of the limited testing. Marko who has a reputation for a brutally honest and forthright views on the performance of the team’s drivers has been something Perez said that he is enjoying when working with Marko at Red Bull, appreciating his direct nature and feedback.
He told Motorsport.com, “The truth is that I am delighted with Helmut. He always tells me what he thinks. If you do well, he tells you. If you do badly, he tells you, not only to you, also externally to the press.”
“He is very direct and I respect him a lot because having someone like that in F1 is not very common. I think we have a good relationship. We are getting to know each other more and more. Normally after the race, I have calls with him, and there he tells me if I did wrong or not.”
Perez managed to out-qualify Verstappen at Imola, but he is yet to beat his teammate in the race with him scoring half the points of the Dutchman. However, he does believe that he has made progress in the opening races in adapting and understanding the car.
He says he has had to change his approach to racing and made big steps forward in race trim with the Red Bull RB16B car. Perez added, “My aspiration is to win. It’s early in the season still, I have to be patient. I know that 10 races from now, I will know exactly where I stand and the chances I have in the championship.”
The Mexican stresses though its still his aspiration is to win, but it was early in the season to assess where he stands in the championship. Saying it “doesn’t matter where you start or how you start, but how you finish in Abu Dhabi.”
Perez struggled to eighth place in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix after struggling with a shoulder issue, but said he has regained full fitness ahead of this weekend’s race in Monaco.
Sir Lewis Hamilton’s 2010 MP4-25A has been put up for sale, so how much could it be worth…
Hamilton race winner for sale
A McLaren driven by Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2010 will be put up for auction at the British Grand Prix in July as it does laps of the Silverstone circuit. The MP4-25A raced in 2010 has an estimate of £4-6 million according to F1 auctioneer
Seven-times world champion Hamilton, now at Mercedes, is Formula One’s most successful driver of all time with a record 100 pole positions and 98 wins.
Felix Archer, a car specialist for auctioneers and Formula One partner’s RM Sotheby’s, told Reuters, “It’s an amazing opportunity to have a piece of his story. It’s the first time a Lewis Hamilton race winner has ever been publicly offered.”
The car and chassis number was the won that took victory in Istanbul, famously where Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided while leading one-two. Hamilton drove it in four races that year, 2009 world champion teammate Jenson Button in five and it achieved three podium finishes and a fastest lap.
Archer added, “This is from an era where the engines were still screaming V8s and it will be driven around the track in anger. It will appeal to someone who either wants it as a collector’s item or literally wants to drive and sit where Lewis and Jenson sat and thrash it around the track.”
“If someone was willing to pay over a million quid (pounds) for Kanye West’s trainers, I think there’s someone out there for a Lewis Hamilton Formula One car. It’s a true piece of art, a piece of history.”
The car will be operated for the buyer by McLaren Heritage, with around eight people and several days’ preparation needed to operate it. The original Bridgestone tyres have been replaced with Avon rubber.
The valuation is similar to that given to Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna, multiple world champions cars can fetch a higher price at auction, in Abu Dhabi 2019 A 2002 Ferrari F1 car raced by Schumacher was sold for $6.65 million