George Russell reckons he has become a “more complete driver” throughout his bid to help the Williams Formula 1 team recover from its recent plight.

After a disappointing 2018, Williams went on to endure its worst-ever F1 season in 2019, which coincided with Russell’s arrival at the team following his back-to-back title triumphs in GP3 and Formula 2.

The Briton was unable to score a world championship point during a tough rookie campaign but he has starred with some excellent performances in qualifying so far this season, with Williams showing encouraging signs of improvement.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Crash.net, Russell explained how he has been able to add to his skillset through taking on responsibilities he “never realised an F1 driver has to take”.

“I’ve definitely become a more complete driver,” Russell said.

“Formula 1 is not about outright speed, there’s a lot of things behind the scenes. You’ve got to excel at working with your engineers.

“At Williams there are 650-700 people there. As the drivers, you are almost leading the way and directing the team, which path or which route to take and that is a lot of responsibility.

“It’s more responsibility than I ever realised an F1 driver has to take and something I actually really enjoy doing.

“Something I’ve learnt over the last year is how to deal with it and how to deal with it effectively.”

Despite being linked with a potential Mercedes drive for 2021, Russell will ultimately stay at Williams to spend the third and final year of the original contract he signed at the Grove-based squad.

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams believes arriving into the team during a period of adversity has ultimately made Russell a stronger driver.

“The way he talks to the engineers and the rest of the team, he’s learnt that a driver can have a real involvement in leading a team, particularly, when things aren’t going well,” Williams told the F1 Nation podcast.

“Having been in a team that isn’t having the best time will make him stronger. He hasn’t had it easy and it will put him in better place in the future, it will make him a better driver.”

 

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