Formula 1 Correspondent
4:01 PM 2nd December 2020
Russell To Replace Hamilton At Mercedes This Weekend
It has been announced today that the highly likeable 22 year old British Formula 1 driver George Russell will take over Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car for the Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain this weekend after this year’s champion tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and is needing to self-isolate. Russell, from King’s Lynn, has been a part of the Mercedes junior driver programme since late 2016, but needed special dispensation from his current and relatively lowly Williams team to return to his parent outfit for a race debut in their all-conquering W11 car.
A delighted George Russell already has a Mercedes race suit ahead of his first race for them this weekend The British-Korean Jack Aitken will make his F1 debut in Bahrain for Williams
Russell became the GP3 champion in 2017, the F2 champion a year later and has raced in F1 for Williams for the last two seasons. The arrangement between Williams and Mercedes could also be extended to include the season finale in Abu Dhabi a week later if Hamilton is forced to miss that race too. To say that George is excited by this unexpected opportunity is a total understatement!
A knock-on effect of this move is that Williams’ existing 25 year old British-Korean reserve driver, Jack Aitken, will take Russell’s vacated seat and make his Formula 1 debut in the same race.
Pietro Fittipaldi makes his F1 debut for Haas A Schumacher will return with 21 year old Mick Russian Nikita Mazepin moves up to F1 next season
Elsewhere, Pietro Fittipaldi, the 24 year old grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, will step up from his reserve driver role at the Haas team to deputise for the injured Romain Grosjean in Bahrain.
However, Fittipaldi will not be one of the two new drivers for Haas next year as one of the worst kept secrets in Formula 1 was officially confirmed today, namely that Mick Schumacher (son of the legendary Michael) will be one half of their pairing for the 2021 season, lining up alongside another F1 rookie Nikita Mazepin. Both Schumacher and Mazepin are currently competing in the 2020 Formula 2 championship and the former may become the champion this weekend in Bahrain.