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Mercedes deliver Russell first-year verdict

Mercedes deliver Russell first-year verdict

Mercedes deliver Russell first-year verdict

Mercedes deliver Russell first-year verdict

Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles has praised George Russell's first year with the team.

British driver Russell was promoted to a seat with the Silver Arrows after completing his F1 education during a three-year stint with Williams.

Alongside seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, Russell was tasked with assisting in the development of a Mercedes challenger that fell short of the mark.

The task was made harder still with the early stages of the year dedicated to playing catch up and eradicating fundamental issues with the W13.

Nevertheless, Russell went on a streak of top-five finishes that lasted until the British Grand Prix and secured Mercedes' only pole and win of the year with his first of each in F1 at the Hungarian and São Paulo events.

“I think on a whole it doesn’t really take us to tell you this but George did a very good job this year," said Vowles.

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"He is against the best in the world and that's your reference. What is very clear is that at the beginning of the year when we had a car that was difficult Lewis was using his wealth of experience to help us in order to improve the car and really move us forward as a part of the team.

“George in that period of time was just really focussed on learning, embedding himself into the team and he scored a number of results really that benefitted him as a result of that.

"Irrespective his qualifying pace I think is within a tenth of where Lewis ended up, his race pace was very, very strong throughout the year.

“That's really what we were looking for, how does he fit into our environment? How does he fit into the team? How does he work with Lewis? How does he work with everyone else?

"I think in all of those he did an incredibly good job."

Praising his adaptation to the elite working environment at the Brackley-based team, Vowles added: "It was a big step up for him from Williams, I think where Williams operated is obviously very high level, where we operate is a little bit different to that.

"I think he adapted very quickly and very well.”

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