2018 Chinese Grand Prix, Sunday - Paul Ripke

Toto Wolff has heaped praise on George Russell before the Russian GP.

Russell is in the top three starting positions for an F1 race again, except this time, he will actually race. The last time he shocked the world and took second place in qualifying, it was at the Belgian GP.

This time, it looks set to not be déjà vu, with Russell sitting behind pole sitter Lando Norris and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz.

The race will begin and open up to a long straight where overtaking is possible, so there will most certainly be positions made up or lost in the first lap itself. This means the soon-to-be Mercedes driver could very well find himself in the lead before the first lap comes to an end.

Wolff heaped praise on Russell, saying it wouldn’t be surprising for him to see the aforementioned result.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see George in the lead after Turn 2,” Wolff said, as quoted by GP Blog.

Mercedes team boss: Wouldn't surprise me to see Russell in the lead
Russell (pictured) has earned praise from Wolff for his qualifying lap. Source: gpblog.com

“It would be fun to watch as well. If Lewis manages to capture positions as well, we would have the present and the future of the team in the top-two at that point.”

Future sample

Mercedes will be watching Russell’s performance intently, given he will be driving for them next season alongside their current driver in Lewis Hamilton.

However, as of now, Hamilton is the main man, and that means Russell is merely another driver in his way. Hamilton will have to fend off Russell in his quest to win the race, and that’s not counting Sainz and Norris.

Wolff commented on Russell’s strategy for qualifying, saying his gamble eventually paid off big time.

“He took the risk of going in first for slicks,” Wolff observed.  

“Otherwise, he would have finished eighth or ninth, but he and Williams were not satisfied, and they pushed hard to get the best result and then this is the result of that,” the Austrian concluded.

Read more: Wolff denies being unhappy with Albon’s move to Williams – “We didn’t even want to interfere!”

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