George Russell believes it is “laughable” that Mercedes saw enough talent in him in his younger days to recruit him as a junior driver, considering his racing results in GP3 at the time were not groundbreaking.
Prior to being signed by the Silver Arrows, Russell spent two unsuccessful years in the lower series, with him finishing third in the championship in the second campaign. Mercedes remained impressed though, and their investment in him was justified as he went on to win the next title, as well as the F2 championship a year later.
Russell thinks, in retrospect, their faith in him was “laughable” at the time.
"The fact that Mercedes signed me by only finishing third my second year of F3 said a lot," he told Motorsport.com
"It was almost laughable to see that, how wrong that championship was in some ways.
"If they [Mercedes] believe I'm capable of being a future F1 driver after only winning two races in F3 and finishing third in the championship in my second year, it shows that on paper it doesn't show the full story.
"I'm so grateful for the fact they are true racers and can really see the reality behind everything. In some aspects, that potential could be the same this season."
The Brit admits his attitude was wrong in his younger days as he always believed he was right despite what more experienced heads were saying, but thinks his ability to learn from such mistakes has made him a better driver.
"My two years in Formula 3 were very challenging and, especially the first year, character-building, to say the least,” Russell revealed.
"That bad experience helped me in the years to come because I was quite naive. I thought I was always the one who was right, and the team didn't know what they were talking about.
"I didn't put enough effort in to try and improve the car to suit my driving style and this and the other, and I did many things wrong. I learned a huge amount for 2016 when I had an option deal with Mercedes F1.
"I was racing with Hitech, a new team, and I felt I performed really well in that year and outqualified my teammate in 28 out of 30 races.
"But I still only finished third in the championship because Lance [Stroll] was there and was superior to everyone else."
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