Mercedes-AMG’s 2020 Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is out sick this weekend with, what else, Coronavirus. I am sure I’m not alone in wishing the champ a quick and trouble-free recovery. Obviously, the Formula One show must go on, and the champ’s seat will need someone to keep it warm while he’s unable to participate. It’s unlikely that Mercedes will find anyone with the skill and talent of Lewis Hamilton, but they’ve got to try their best. Which is why I think they should take a risk and plug in George Russell.
There are a few options for Mercedes to choose from, including the team’s stated reserve drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Stoffel Vandoorne. But, consider for a moment, that Williams Racing’s young George Russell is a Mercedes junior driver, is supported in his F1 career by Mercedes money, and this could be the perfect opportunity to see if he has what it takes. Both Gutierrez and Vandoorne have already had their chance in Formula One, and Mercedes would learn nothing by having them in the seat. Vandoorne, in fact, is Mercedes’ lead driver in Formula E, and has been testing in Valencia this week.
Russell has had very few opportunities to prove himself in the Williams seat, as the car is the only car on the grid to have not scored any points in 2020 thus far. Based on his qualifying performance and falling just short of points a number of times this season, it’s obvious that he’s driving well above the capabilities of the FW43. Russell has managed to claw his way out of Q1 in nine qualifying events this season, while teammate Nicholas Latifi has only managed to do so once.
While Russell crashed out of a points paying position during a safety car phase at Imola earlier this year, it’s obvious that in spite of such a horrid mistake, he’s got a lot of talent, and should be given the chance to race the Mercedes. He’s a good kid. Let him race. Learn a thing or two. Lewis won’t be with the Mercedes team forever, and Bottas clearly doesn’t have what it takes to be a champion. Might George be able to step into the champ’s shoes?