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Mercedes junior driver George Russell is confident he will remain on the grid for the 2021 F1 season despite doubts over his future at Williams.

Russell said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has told him he will be on the grid next year.

“He’s said listen, I’ve got your back, and he said you’ll be on the grid next year, so don’t worry,” said Russell. “Everything will be fine and I’d say 100% clarified from the team’s perspective probably no later than the end of next week.”

Sergio Perez, who will lose his seat at Racing Point to Sebastian Vettel at the end of the year, has been tipped to take Russell’s place at Williams. Although the team confirmed on social media in July that Russell will remain with them next year, they have since been taken over by new owners Dorilton Capital.

The new owners met with Russell over the weekend and discussed his future with the team, he said.

“They’ve been here, I spoke with them, they said don’t worry, everything’s going to be fine. We had a small chat about it and moved on to talk about the rest of this year moving into next year and how we’re going to push the team further forward, which is enough for me.”

Russell believes the rumours over his future have come from Perez’s backers, who are trying to find him a seat at Red Bull alongside Max Verstappen next year.

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“I think all of this speculation has probably been fed by the Perez camp who are trying to apply pressure on other teams further down the grid, potentially a Red Bull seat,” said Russell. “So that’s my view on it. Like I say I’ve got a contract, I’ve got nothing to worry about and I’m just here, focusing on my job.”

Wolff said Russell’s performances have shown he deserves a place in F1, and that if he were to lose his seat at Williams it would be for financial reasons.

“George has proven that he deserves to be in Formula 1,” said Wolff. “[In Portugal] again he was running in the solid midfield.

“I don’t think the decision comes down to his driving skills. It’s more probably an overall political [and] commercial decision and it’s up to the owners of Williams to decide where they want to head with the team.

“So I think we have to respect the independence of Williams and their decision-making process. And I think he’s in a good position.”

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