George Russell says having the opportunity to drive two different Formula 1 cars at the end of the 2020 season showed him that he needs to be more adaptable as a driver. 

The Williams driver got the chance to trade the slowest car on the grid for the fastest when he was called up to Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix, following the seven-time world champion’s positive coronavirus test. 

Russell starred on his Mercedes debut and appeared on course to claim a fairytale maiden grand prix victory until a calamitous pit stop and a puncture ruined his chances as he recovered to record his first F1 points finish in ninth. 

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Having returned to Williams for the final round of the season in Abu Dhabi, the Briton said his Mercedes experience had taught him a valuable lesson in the importance of tailoring your driving style to suit each specific car. 

"I think the thing I've learned most is that you have to be adaptable,” Russell explained. 

"My sort of driving style I did in the Williams actually hurt me slightly in the Mercedes. 

“So when I came back to the Williams, and I tried to implement some of the things that I did in that Bahrain race, I couldn't do it in the Williams. I think that sort of reinforced to me that you have to be open-minded and you have to adapt to whatever the car is giving you. 

“So if one guy drives like that in a Mercedes, it doesn't mean you can drive like that in a Williams, and vice versa.”

Russell stressed he is fully focused on making further progress with Williams this season despite putting himself in contention for a 2022 seat at Mercedes, with Valtteri Bottas’ contract due to expire at the end of the year. 

"I think it's continuing the form, and continuing the positive attitude internally with the team and externally,” he said. 

"It's not getting frustrated with the poor performance here, and continue to try to push Williams further forward.

"I think Mercedes believe in me, they've given me the opportunity, and they've always had my back.

"Now it's sort of my duty that I stay true, and that I don't suddenly change over the course of next year because of certain circumstances, and turn into something that I'm not currently."