Lando Norris’s early deal with McLaren helped George Russell make a case for himself at Williams, the F2 champion recently revealed.
Norris had won one race when he was announced as the 2019 driver for McLaren. Russell had won five races by that time.
The Mercedes protégé has been lobbying Williams since past one year and his lead in F2 proved to be another point he could highlight to Claire Williams and Paddy Lowe.
The British racer claimed that although Williams was keeping an eye on him, their interest peaked when they learnt of Norris signing with McLaren.
“Lando’s announcement so early helped me to push Williams for my drive,” he said.
“Because if I was ahead of him in the championship and McLaren believed he was worthy of a Formula 1 seat it showed there was some great signs for myself.
“And it probably added more pressure for Williams to say we’ve got to go with George because he’s the guy who is winning F2.”
The junior series did a great job this year with three of its top drivers getting placed in F1 upon graduation.
Alexander Albon was recently announced as the driver to Toro Rosso. Speaking about his F2 rival, Russell said the Thai driver deserved to be a part of F1.
“I’m really happy for him. He’s a really great driver,” said the 2019 Williams driver.
“He’s had probably not the easiest junior career, but he is no doubt a great driver and deserves this opportunity.
“I think after a few races, as obviously he doesn’t have any Formula 1 experience at the moment, but I really think come to the end of the year, he’ll be able to put in some really good performances.”
The Brit is happy to see so many drivers from his generation getting seats in the premier racing series.
“Formula 1 teams are starting to recognise the level in junior motorsport,” Russell added.
“I think we’ve all been very lucky, especially myself and Lando, to be around a Formula 1 team for a couple of years now, and going to the races, and we learn a huge amount.
“Of course, you always get quicker and when you gain experience, you just become more knowledgeable. I think this generation of drivers is a very, very good one.
“When you’re aiming for Formula 1, you don’t expect that you’re going to be racing the exact same guys you were racing all those years ago.”