‘Character-building’ years prepped Russell for Williams woes

George Russell says a few past “character-building” campaigns in his formative years in motorsport are helping him deal with the current hardship he’s experiencing at Williams.

The British outfit – F1’s third most successful team behind Ferrari and McLaren – has been stuck in a deep slump since the beginning of 2018.

Alas, Williams’ slide has worsened this year on the back of production delays, management changes and engineering issues impacting the performance of its 2019 contender.

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Needless to say, Russell has been thrown in at the deep end but the talented young rookie has acquitted himself well, keeping himself out of trouble and outpacing his high profile team mate Robert Kubica in the process.

Dealing with his team’s woes hasn’t been easy however but the 21-year-old admitted it wasn’t his first troubled trip around the block.

“Yeah, you know, it’s not my first difficult year,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I think sometimes if you have just such a perfect career path, when you do have a difficulty, you don’t know how to handle it, whereas I’ve had a number of difficult moments in my career, so I’ve sort of got the experience on that hand.”

Perhaps his fans only remember Russell’s back-to-back championship winning seasons in GP3 and Formula 2 in 2017 and 2018, but the Mercedes protégé’s triumphs followed two fruitless years in European Formula 3.

And the memory of those struggles and the lessons they embody are helping him sustain his determination today.

“My last year in karting was very difficult, I went to a team [Birel ART] which wasn’t performing at the time.

“You can call that a character-building season, and I also had that in Formula 3, my two seasons in Formula 3 were far from perfect.

“And that made me sort of into the driver I am today, and I learned a huge amount from those moments.”

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