Russell benefits from learning F1 off screen says Coulthard
David Coulthard rates Williams driver George Russell highly, and reveals why racing towards the back and avoiding the cameras could be helping the Briton to develop as a driver.
Failing to score a point in his debut season of Formula One, fans could have been forgiven for failing to even register that Russell was even on the grid.
However, hammering teammate Robert Kubica 21-0 in qualifying across the year, the Mercedes junior driver is still viewed by many as a viable replacement for Lewis Hamilton when the six-time champion moves on or retires.
"I think he's a great talent who is cutting his teeth in Formula One largely off screen," said Coulthard. "He's too good that he doesn't even crash to get himself on television.
"His talent is so strong that, with his relationship with Mercedes, I think it will be fine. He, against Robert Kubica who came back from that terrible rallying accident, we had a benchmark driver in terms of speed, and George showed consistently that the key thing is being able to qualify.
"He just showed time and time again that, irrespective of the car, when the pressure was on to deliver a lap time he was able to do that. I have absolutely no doubt that, being a little bit out of the spotlight was just really giving him a little bit of time to understand Formula One."
Coulthard continued by pointing out that the levels of pressure on drivers during the early stages of their careers can often have a detrimental effect in the long term, and that allowing Russell to develop freely could bring rewards to Mercedes as the years pass by.
"He's a young man right now and there's now question that in a few years time he'll be able physically and mentally more able to take on the challenge of a competitive Formula One season," continued Coulthard. "I think that's something that we tend to underestimate on a lot of occasions.
"Managing the fatigue that comes across a long season when you're in a championship battle, and I think that is where Lewis [Hamilton] has been so strong relative to his teammates."
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