Mercedes have found themselves with a headache scenario over the Sakhir Grand Prix weekend, with George Russell having the step up from Williams to replace the ill Lewis Hamilton.
This move has excited many Formula One fans as he will be in direct competition with Valtteri Bottas and will get the opportunity to show his real potential behind the title-winning car, rather than the car sitting bottom of the standings.
In both of Friday’s practice sessions, it was Russell who found himself at the top of the timesheets with his team-mate in 4th during Free Practice One, followed by an 11th place finish during Free Practise Two.
With Hamilton struggling to recover from the Coronavirus, Mercedes will make a decision next Thursday over who will drive the championship-winning car for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes have already confirmed that Valtteri Bottas will drive for the team next season, with Russell being confirmed for Williams, but the form Russell is producing so far might just be enough for Mercedes to question their decision.
I do think that one good outing for Russell isn’t enough to convince Mercedes of his talent, because they already know that exists. The Bahrain outer track isn’t the most traditional Formula One track and it would be interesting to see how he would get on at a track like Silverstone in the best car on the grid.
Russell has come out of the blocks very quickly and is putting pressure on Bottas to perform. This is causing the Finnish driver to push track limits and go wide, causing more and more frustration as the weekend progresses.
I do hope Russell has a good weekend for Mercedes and capitalize on his strong start to the weekend in qualifying and in the Grand Prix itself. He could get his first F1 points this weekend and that will be exciting for F1 fans, but especially for the people who placed a bet on him winning the race when he was 3000/1.