George Russell made the move to Mercedes ahead of the ongoing season and it is fair to say that he has already made a mark despite troubles plaguing the Silver Arrows.
He is the only driver who has finished each of the eight races in the top-5.
Given star driver Lewis Hamilton’s struggles on the track this year, Russell’s performance has stood out even more.
Former F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve feels that Russell has to continue to build on his early season success and if he is able to beat Hamilton in terms of points over the campaign, he will “make his career”.
Russell was previously racing for Williams before making the move to Mercedes and it is believed that this provided the perfect apprenticeship for the youngster to truly blossom.
Villeneuve expected Russell to outclass Hamilton
For Villeneuve, it is not surprising to see just how competitive Russell has been at Mercedes. In fact, he somewhat expected this given Russell’s top performances in a limited Williams car.
“He has the experience now and he’s had a few years of driving bad cars, difficult cars,” said Villeneuve.
“So yes, he was okay with a difficult Mercedes that was bouncing, all that mattered to him was beating Lewis.
“He knew from the start it wasn’t a championship-winning car. If he beats Lewis, his career is made. That’s all that he cares about.
“And also, both of them being British, he beats Lewis, that’s it as his career has been made.
“So that was his only emphasis: what he needed to do to beat Lewis and that’s what he’s been doing.”
Villeneuve credits Hamilton’s success to superior Mercedes engineers
Although Hamilton has been Mercedes’ star man over the years, winning six of the seven drivers’ titles for the team, Villeneuve believes this is due to the superior engineers he had at his disposal.
He argued that this is exactly why Michael Schumacher was successful with Ferrari all those years back.
“It’s crazy, both these drivers have had years in the best car without any competition,” Villeneuve said.
“Now take Prost and Senna without their teammates, and they both would have seven championships, and they would be on the same scale as Lewis and Schumacher.
“So it also takes you being in a car that’s unbeatable without a teammate. Lewis had Rosberg for a year, and then Rosberg just gave up.”