George Russell opens up on ‘extremely difficult’ season as Mercedes ponder move

Formula 1: George Russell praised by Claire Williams in 2018

Formula One star George Russell has claimed that he found the 2020 campaign ‘extremely difficult’ due to the season being heavily affected by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisers were forced to cram 17 races into a packed makeshift schedule after the start was postponed by over three months, with the opening race in Austria taking place at the beginning of July.

Russell’s season took another unexpected turn at the penultimate Sakhir Grand Prix, when he was drafted in to compete for Mercedes with Lewis Hamilton ruled out after returning a positive Covid-19 test.

The Williams man impressed fans and pundits alike during his debut with the Silver Arrows, fighting at the front for much of the race before his efforts were curtailed through no fault of his own by a botched pit-stop and, later on, a slow puncture.

Russell has been touted as a potential replacement for Hamilton when the seven-time world champion decides to retire from the sport.

Although the youngster’s stock rose during 2020 as a result of his on-track performances, he has revealed that the majority of the campaign was a tricky one from a personal point of view.

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Drivers, along with other team staff, have been forced to remain in tightly-monitored bubbles while travelling across the world which has prevented those involved from enjoying the company of their families.

“It was incredibly difficult, not seeing friends, family, being locked away in my flat,” Russell told GP Fans. “It was a sacrifice I was willing to take because ultimately, Formula One is my life and it is the most important thing to me.

“There are a lot of worse positions to be in but we are all human at the end of the day, we need this interaction and not having it is difficult and that’s why everybody was looking forward to going back to families and living a normal life.

“[In] Formula One, we already live in a bubble. Everyone used to say before Covid that Formula One is a big bubble, it is our real life. All of a sudden, you have bubbles within bubbles and you can’t exit the bubble so it is tricky.”

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