George Russell believes Williams should be aiming to overhaul both Haas and Alfa Romeo in its bid to move up the Formula 1 grid in 2021.

While Williams remained anchored to the bottom of the constructors’ championship for the second year running and failed to score a single point in 2020, the team was able to make notable progress compared to 2019 as it regularly battled it out with Haas and Alfa Romeo towards the tail end of the grid.

Alfa Romeo scored eight points on its way to taking eighth place in the teams’ standings last year, ending the season five points clear of Haas, who will field a rookie line-up consisting of reigning Formula 2 champion Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin in 2021.

Having witnessed Williams’ rate of improvement first hand, Russell is confident the British squad can fight for points and beat its nearest two rivals in the upcoming season.

“I’m confident we can beat Haas next year,” Russell said at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.

“I think we’ll be on a par with Alfa Romeo but I’d like to think we can jump them as well if you look at the progress we’ve been making.

“We want to be scoring points next year, we’re not suddenly going to be in the midfield fight because of the regulation stability.

“But definitely we have to be aiming to beat Haas and Alfa Romeo.”

Russell had the chance to drive the fastest car on the grid when he stood in for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the second race in Bahrain when the seven-time world champion was ruled out with a positive coronavirus test.

The Briton said his experience of driving front-running machinery was invaluable as it taught him a number of key lessons and has made him more determined to push Williams further.

“I think it’s continuing the form, continuing the positive attitude internally with the team and externally not getting frustrated with the poor performance here, and continue to try and push Williams further forward,” he explained.

“Mercedes believe in me. They have given me the opportunity, they’ve always had my back, now it’s sort of my duty that I stay on the straight and narrow almost, and that I don’t… suddenly change over the course of next year.”

 

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