Cape Town - George Russell feels Charles Leclerc impressive debut
campaign in Formula 1 is great for the youngsters such as himself wanting to
come through the ranks.
Lecler won the Formula 2 title last season before stepping
up into Formula 1 with Sauber.
Such has been his form, and points-scoring prowess in a car
that many would argue is not a top-ten machine, that he is already being linked
to a promotion to Ferrari next season.
But he's not the only driver who could ultimately benefit
from his impressive form.
"I think times are changing slightly, you have the
likes of Verstappen, Ocon and Leclerc going into F1," F2 series leader
Russell told Autosport.
"These guys can come in and challenge the experienced
drivers in the field.
"I think what Charles is doing now is a great example
of how competitive some junior series are. He won GP3 and then F2, and I won
GP3 last year and currently leading F2.
"From my personal selling point of view let’s say,
there's a very good example in Charles to show what he's capable of and what
we're doing this year."
He is hoping that his recent F2 results, including a win in
Austria, could see Mercedes work towards getting him a race seat for next
In fact, Russell reckons he's even ready to race in Formula
1 as early as this weekend's British Grand Prix.
"If an opportunity arose with anybody at Silverstone
this weekend, I'd feel ready, prepared. I've done extensive simulator work with
Mercedes over the past two years really," he said.
"I've done a number of days testing now with Mercedes
and Force India and I feel confident that I can live up to the challenge.
"I know they believe there is potential with me or they
wouldn't have taken me on as a junior driver otherwise. I think they believe in
"Now we're at the highest level of junior motorsport,
it's the best young drivers in the world, it's definitely putting pressure on
the guys who are managing my situation to hopefully find something for me next