Mercedes discussing George Russell’s availability with Williams

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Several F1 news outlets are reporting that Mercedes has held talks with Williams about George Russell replacing Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix, after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Among those are BBC, Autosport and The Race, which are reputable sources. The reports state that Williams is not completely opposed to the idea of letting Russell switch to Mercedes for the Sakhir and, possibly, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

According to reports Mercedes already inquired with Williams earlier this year if they would be willing to let Russell go to Mercedes in 2021, as the British team has him under contract for one more year. At the time Williams declined, but that was before the team was sold to Dorilton Capital.

It is not yet known what Williams would get in return for this, but the team has been running Mercedes engines since 2014 and maintains a good relationship with the German outfit.

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Russell has long been considered the prime candidate to replace Hamilton or Bottas once either of them leaves Mercedes. He has been a Mercedes junior driver since 2017 and tested their cars on six occasions, most recently in 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

Both him and Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne haven’t had the chance to drive the W11, so none have the advantage in that regard. However, Russell would definitely be a better option, as he has driven the newest F1 machinery, while Vandoorne hasn’t competed in Formula 1 since 2018.

Reports say Mercedes is expected to announce its decision as early as Wednesday.

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