Mercedes team amazed by George Russell’s debut victory but there was no doubting the power of the message he sent at the Sakhir Grand Prix.
Standing in for Lewis Hamilton after the world champion contracted coronavirus, the 22-year-old Briton outclass from the moment he went out on the Bahrain track and would have won had it not been for a bizarre pit-lane mix-up from the normally flawless Mercedes team.
Even after that demoted him to 5th place, he might still have pulled it off, only for a puncture to cut short his pursuit of Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who took a brilliant maiden victory.
The pain was etched all over Russell’s face afterwards, but there was satisfaction, too, and he said he would wake up on Monday morning with his “head held high”.
He was “gutted” to lose the victory twice, he said, and had “cried a little” but was also “incredibly proud” of the job he had done, and had “loved” racing at the front – including the “nice” overtake he pulled on team-mate Valtteri Bottas as he set about recovering the places he had lost in his pit stop.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who took the gamble to negotiate a release for Russell from his Williams team for this race, was more than satisfied.
Wolff said: “He has all the potential and all the ingredients that a future star needs.”
By Andrew Benson
Source: BBC News