Toto Wolff says George Russell has settled in well with Mercedes at Sakhir, and with all the calm and seriousness of a “finance guy”.
Russell was drafted in from Williams to replace seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
The Briton kicked off his Sakhir GP weekend with the Brackley squad with a clean sweep in free practice on Friday and concluded qualifying P2 just 0.026s behind teammate Valtteri Bottas.
So far, Russell has proven to be a remarkable substitute for Hamilton, and likely his most worthy successor at Mercedes in the future.
“It’s kind of interesting because they are so different characters,” Wolff noted. “Lewis obviously has been there for a long time, has so much experience, is the calm and composed guy.
“George is equally calm but he’s a lot more chatty. He’s quite serious, you would think he’s a finance guy!
“I think he settled in well considering the circumstances. The track is new for everybody and I’m happy with his performance.”
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Wolff highlighted the importance of shaving the pressure off Mercedes’ protégé ahead of Saturday evening’s qualifying session, a task conducted with the help of chief strategist James Vowles.
“We had a good chat with him, with James Vowles, and it was really to take all the pressure off,” Wolff explained.
“I said to him if you end up in the first four, second row of the grid, that’s already a fantastic result.
“If a McLaren or Ferrari jumps you and you’re fifth, it’s equally great. Nothing more is expected. And I felt that he was walking off with a little more easiness.”