Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has backed George Russell to deliver a “strong performance” when he joins the team for this weekend’s Sakhir Grand Prix.
Long-term Mercedes junior Russell has been released by Williams for the upcoming round in order to replace Covid-19 positive Lewis Hamilton at the World Champion team.
Russell has competed for Williams for the last two years but has been towards the rear of the pack owing to the team’s current level of performance.
He has taken a best qualifying result of 12th and a best race result of 11th.
Russell has tested for Mercedes on several occasions, most recently in December 2019, when he participated in the post-season running before staying on for a tyre test.
“First and foremost, I wish to thank our loyal partners at Williams for their collaboration and open-mindedness in making it possible for George to race for Mercedes this weekend,” said Wolff.
“The conversations with the team at Williams were positive and pragmatic, and those were the key factors in reaching an agreement.
“It will not be a straightforward task for George to make the transition from the Williams to the W11, but he is race-ready and has detailed understanding of the 2020 tyres and how they perform on this generation of cars.
“George has shown impressive form this year with Williams, playing an instrumental role in their climb up the grid, and I am optimistic that he will deliver a strong performance alongside Valtteri [Bottas], who will be a demanding reference for him.
“We have a job to do this weekend, and the full focus of our sporting efforts will be behind Valtteri and George in order to maximise our points score as a team.
“But, of course, our thoughts are also with Lewis, and we will be supporting him as much as we can to make a rapid recovery during his period of self-isolation.”