George Russell says it is important he doesn’t pay too much attention to comments about his potential from the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
The Williams youngster has yet to score a point in his Formula 1 career but endured a roller coaster of a weekend in Imola earlier this month, where he was singled out by Alonso as the most impressive young driver in the sport for his performances so far. After crashing from 10th place behind the safety car, Russell was then comforted by Hamilton who took to Instagram to praise his fellow Briton, while Romain Grosjean also said the 2018 Formula 2 champion has been “mega” in F1 to date.
“I obviously really appreciate these comments, without a shadow of a doubt,” Russell said. “But I think it’s almost sort of background noise because I know I have to continue to perform week in week out, and as fantastic as it is getting a pat on the back and praise from these guys, I have got to back that up with the job I do on track.
“So I’ve always tried not letting comments like this get into my head. I am doing this for myself and my family and the biggest amount of pressure I have is from myself and not from anybody else.”
While keeping his own feet on the ground, Russell says he hopes the comments from such big names will help more casual observers appreciate the job he is doing.
“In Formula 1 it is very difficult, especially for us in the position that we are, to really show what I can do as a driver when we are fighting at the back of the grid. I am pointless in my 18 months in F1, and to the outside viewers to recognize what a driver is doing is very difficult.
“So to have the support and praise of the likes of Lewis and Fernando and these guys means a huge amount. There are among the most respected in the sport, and if people see that, it means a lot for me. But nevertheless I need to go out there and deliver week in and week out.”