Early Norris/McLaren deal helped my F1 chances - George Russell

George Russell says McLaren’s early signing of Lando Norris for 2019 proved beneficial to his own Formula 1 deal with Williams.

McLaren confirmed in September that protégé Norris would graduate to a race seat in Formula 1 next season, at which point he had one Formula 2 victory to the five amassed by title leader Russell.

Russell went on to add another two wins to his tally, eventually clinching the title at Yas Marina, by which time he had wrapped up a 2019 race deal with Williams.

“Lando’s announcement so early helped me to push Williams for my drive,” he said.

“Because if I was ahead of him in the championship and McLaren believed he was worthy of a Formula 1 seat it showed there was some great signs for myself.

“And it probably added more pressure for Williams to say we’ve got to go with George because he’s the guy who is winning F2.”

Russell finished the campaign 68 points clear of Norris in the standings and clinched the crown with his seventh win – putting him level with Stoffel Vandoorne and Charles Leclerc in that regard.

“It’s been a very long and tough year for myself and ART, and we’ve worked really hard and probably from Baku we’ve been one of the quickest on track every single time,” he said.

“We’ve had a number of issues that have been hugely frustrating, but others have as well and it’s been a little difficult to get this across the line.

“But that pole [in Abu Dhabi] you saw the emotions there, and obviously we knew what we had to do: to win it in style, and that’s what we did.”