The polite lad with the notebook off to Mercedes

Published date09 September 2021
Publication titleBay of Plenty Times
“He used to bring this little notebook with him,” Williams says. “He’d always drop in on the first day [of a race weekend] and ask if he could come and see me at some point over the weekend.

“And then, once we’d fixed a time, he’d come along with his little notebook and we’d have a nice general chit-chat about life, but he’d also make sure to say how much he wanted to join the team and why we should pick him and so on.”

Williams laughs. “It was always such a pleasure to have those chats with him.

“It wasn’t one of those situations where you thought, ‘Oh for goodness’ sake, could you stop bothering me!’ Because he wasn’t that kind of person. He was so diligent.

“And I loved the notebook. I loved how presentable he always was, and how eloquent. And that, for me, was lovely.”

That tenacity and fastidiousness — not to mention basic good manners — have paid off spectacularly.

After three seasons punching above his weight, never complaining about his lot or the fact that other rookie drivers were being given better cars than he was, Russell has got his dream move.

The 23-year-old is off to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes F1 from next year. Classy as ever, Russell’s first words in public after the announcement was made yesterday were to thank Claire and her father, Sir Frank Williams, for giving him his F1 break.

Claire was not actually aware of his comments.

Having taken the heartbreaking decision to sell the team to United States-based...

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