Russell has established himself as one of F1’s most exciting prospects despite being unable to score points during his stint with Williams.

The British driver has progressed into Q2 at every race in 2021 and still remarkably hasn't been beaten by a Williams teammate in qualifying since making his debut in 2019.

Alonso and Russell swapped helmets after May’s Monaco Grand Prix, with the Spaniard writing a message of support on the side of his lid.

“George, you rock!! Future World Champ”, read the message from Alonso.

Speaking ahead of the last race in Azerbaijan, Alonso explained why he thinks Russell is a star of the future.

“Definitely very impressed,” Alonso said. It’s not that he’s here seated [next to Alonso in the pre-race drivers’ press conference] but I said also last year when I was following the sport at home. I think he has been very, very impressive with the performances we’ve seen in the Williams that we know that it’s not a competitive package.

“A little bit better this year but not in the last two. Even though I think he was pulling something special every weekend and that was nice to watch at home, and that’s something that you always get impressed [by].”

Russell was cruelly robbed of a remarkable win on his Mercedes debut when he deputised for Lewis Hamilton at last season’s Sakhir Grand Prix.

Alonso believes Russell’s display in Sakhir and his impressive performances for Williams have shown why he’s worthy of a seat at a top team in F1 - with Russell heavily linked with a switch to Mercedes in 2022, in place of Valtteri Bottas.

“The opportunity with the Mercedes was good enough to show, not only the people that were watching at home, it was a real opportunity for everyone to watch what a driver with the talent of George can do with a winning car,” Alonso added. “Nearly won the first race on the first opportunity that he had.

“That I think was proof for many people, not only for a few that we knew how good he was. I think that race in Bahrain was enough to confirm to many millions of people.”