George Russell says he expects to remain with Williams F1 Team in 2021 after playing down his “throwaway remark” which hinted at a Mercedes drive for next season. 

After the race in Sakhir, Russell said he hoped he’d given Mercedes boss Toto Wolff “a headache” following his starring drive where he missed out on a maiden victory due to a botched pit stop then a late puncture.

“I guess from Toto’s perspective, hopefully, I have given him a headache. Not just for 2022, maybe sooner,” he said.

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When asked about the comment ahead of this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Russell played it down and was sure he’d be with Williams for a third consecutive season in 2021.

“Yeah, that was just a throwaway remark in the heat of the moment, obviously emotions were high and what have you,” Russell said. “But yeah. Ultimately I have a contract and I am a Williams driver for 2021.”

It’s unclear whether Russell will deputise for Lewis Hamilton once again with the seven-time champion still awaiting the results of his COVID-19 test.

If he is given another chance to drive for the reigning world champions, Russell believes there won’t be any extra pressure on his shoulders despite his heroics in Sakhir last weekend.

“No not really to be honest, I think it’s obviously really nice to be recognised for the job we achieved last week,” Russell added. “But I’ll be approaching this weekend the same, it’s only my second grand prix in the Mercedes, I’ve still got a hell of a lot to learn and it’s going to be difficult.

“ Last week absolutely exceeded expectations, Valtteri was pushing me the whole way from Friday onwards, put it on pole, pushing me throughout the race as well, it was tricky, now we are back to a more ordinary circuit this weekend. But yeah it’d be great to get another opportunity.”