George Russell

MOTOR SPORT: A career-best 11th place F1 finish, less than seven seconds behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton still left West Norfolk’s George Russell frustrated.

The ROKiT Williams driver was just 1.5 seconds off picking up his first F1 point in a chaotic German Grand Prix in Hockenheim at the weekend.

“It was extremely challenging said the King’s Lynn born racer. “It wasn’t ideal conditions for anyone out there and it was a long race.

“But we should have taken slicks under the penultimate safety car. I think we took the conservative approach when we should have maybe rolled the dice.”

Russell pointed out that Canadian driver Lance Stroll had grabbed that chance, moving from behind Russell to take the lead before finishing fourth on slicks for the Racing Point team. 

“There were 13 or 14 other drivers on the grid who didn’t do that so it’s not exactly that we made the wrong call,” said Russell.

“But we had the opportunity to make the right call. We did keep it on the black stuff when a lot of people didn’t and it was still the best result of the year.”

Russell eventually finished 11th, one place behind teammate Robert Kubica, who picked up Williams’ first point of the season for his efforts. That was only the second time in 11 races this season he has finished ahead of the Norfolk race ace. 

The race was won by Max Verstappen, but even he was only 26.404 seconds ahead of Russell.

Russell had started 18th on the grid but kept up his 100 per cent record of finishes in a race that was interrupted by heavy rain, with many drivers sliding off the Hockenheimring circuit, with seven failing to finish, including the championship’s second-placed driver Valtteri Bottas in his Mercedes, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who is fifth overall.

Russell’s next outing is this weekend, when he travels to the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail has reported that Russell is being lined up by Mercedes to form an all-British partnership for 2020 with Lewis Hamilton.

The 21-year-old who was a Mercedes junior driver and last year’s Formula 2 champion, has impressed in his debut F1 season, despite driving the under-performing Williams car.

The Mail claimed Mercedes boss Toto Wolff had discussed Russell’s availability with opposite number Claire Williams but she was strongly opposed to the idea of losing him, saying: “I told Toto that George is on a three-year contract with us. He is firmly in our plans and is going nowhere.”