George Russell says it would be “in everybody’s best interests” to have his future decided by F1’s summer break.
Russell is contracted to Williams until the end of this season, but the 23-year-old also remains under Mercedes’ management.
The Briton says he hasn’t engaged in discussions with either party so far about 2022 but hopes to have clarity on his future by early August.
Russell is seen as Lewis Hamilton’s natural successor at Mercedes if the seven-time world champion retires at the end of the year. But he could also replace Valtteri Bottas should Hamilton decide to extend his contract with the Brackley squad.
Furthermore, Williams is also keen to retain the services of its driver, but Russell’s priority is likely to secure a seat with F1’s reigning world champions, having made his mark with the team during his one-off with Mercedes in Bahrain last year.
“I think, naturally, we all want something decided either way by the summer break, really,” Russell told Autosport. “I think it’s in everybody’s best interests.
“But to be honest, I’m really not pushing the subject with anybody really – with Mercedes, with Williams. Because I am purely just focused on my job here.
“And I know that, as I’ve always said, if I perform to my potential [that I] believe I’m capable of, you’re putting yourself in the shop window.
“I think that race in Bahrain gave me a unique opportunity to almost prove it.
“Whereas, prior to that, it was always a small unknown – because of the situation I found myself in [with Williams].
“So, I’m really not pushing the subject. Just enjoying every single race, enjoying where I find myself.”
So far, Hamilton has given no indication that he’ll be riding into the sunset at the end of 2021. On the contrary, the 98-time Grand Prix winner says he has every intention of remaining on the grid, whether he bags an eight title this year or not.
But Russell insists he has no inhibitions about going up against F1’s mega star.
“I think it’s really exciting that Lewis has openly been talking about the next couple of years. And it’s clear that he’s still performing at an incredibly high level.
“I think it will be amazing for the sport, and for Mercedes, if he were to continue. And obviously, as any young driver, you want to go against the best. And Lewis is the best.”
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Mercedes and Williams appear to be Russell’s only options for 2022, but the young charger says he trusts his main employer – Mercedes – to make the right call at the end of the day.
“I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of talk about a promotion to, or ‘a move’, I should say, to Mercedes,” said Russell.
“But I think for all of us at the end of the day – Mercedes do manage me, and they do want the best for my career. They are in a unique position, in that sense.
“But they just want the best for me and if they believe I deserve the opportunity, then it’ll be there. If they don’t believe I deserve it, then they will find me a seat somewhere where I can continue to develop.
“I feel like I’m ready to fight for world championships and fight for victories. I feel ready right now to be able to do that, let alone with another year under my belt by the end of this season.
“Wherever I find myself next year, I want to be in a car that will give me the chance to win races because I didn’t fight my whole career to get to F1 to be fighting for 15th and 16th.
“I fought my whole career to get here and to win and that’s what I’m so focused more than ever on doing.”
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