F1 rookie George Russell has all the qualities to shine in Grand Prix racing and will become a big star in the future, says Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.
The British driver is debuting in Formula 1 this year after successively winning the GP3 Series in 2017 and F2 championship in 2018.
Many F1 pundits believe Russell is the ‘real deal’ and this belief got him a race seat at Williams for 2019 season. The youngster made a great first impression on Wolff and it probably will pay off in the future.
Speaking with Formula1.com, Wolff recalled his first encounter with Russell. He said: “My first encounter with George was when he was 15 or 16 years old, and he asked me for a meeting,”
“I really enjoy meeting those young kids full of dreams. He came in a black suit and a tie with a notebook, and he said ‘I’ve just won – I think it was the F4 title in British F4 – and I’m considering doing F3.
‘My feeling is that I should be staying with a British team because I’m very young and I understand Carlin, and would that close the Mercedes door for me if I’m not on a Mercedes engine in F3 in my first year?’
The Austrian was impressed by the youngster’s forward-thinking nature.
“It was such a reflective question from a 15-year-old or 16-year-old, it was really amazing,” said the Austrian
“So he has the brain, he has the empathy, the social skills and the driving.
“I can only repeat what Sebastien Philippe [Russell’s boss at ART, his F2 team] told me. He said he’s one of the best we’ve ever had within our team.
“I think we might have another young British boy here that can become a star in the future.”