George Russell has been handed a chance to drive for world champions Mercedes at this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
The Williams driver and Mercedes junior will stand in for Lewis Hamilton, who is unable to race this weekend after testing positive for Covid-19.
His place at the team will be taken by Williams reserve driver Jack Aitken.
Russell thanked his team for giving him the chance to drive for the world champions. “I might be wearing a different race suit this weekend, but I’m a Williams driver and I’ll be cheering my team on every step of the way,” he said.
“I see this as a great chance to learn from the best outfit on the grid right now and to come back as an improved driver, with even more energy and experience to help push Williams further up the grid. A big thank you also to Mercedes for putting their faith in me.
“Obviously, nobody can replace Lewis, but I’ll give my all for the team in his absence from the moment I step in the car. Most importantly, I wish him a speedy recovery. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and can’t wait to get out on track this week.”
Aitken, who driven Williams’ car earlier this year in practice, said he was “absolutely over the moon” to have landed the opportunity to make his F1 debut and “extremely happy for George to have his chance too.”
“I really mean it when I say I’ve felt very much at home here since I joined Williams earlier this year, so to get my chance to help the team try to achieve that elusive points finish is an extremely satisfying occasion to say the least.
“I’ll be doing all I can to prepare in the coming days, but truthfully, I feel like I have been ready since Melbourne. I also want to wish Lewis well in his recovery, and good luck to George getting the chance to drive the Mercedes this weekend.”
This article will be updated.
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2020 F1 season
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