RACE DEBRIEF

    Williams Team Principal Jost Capito has described himself as “delighted”, following the announcement that his current driver George Russell would move to world champions Mercedes for 2022.

    Capito joined Williams at the back end of last year and revealed how he impressed he’d been with the “dedicated, focused and talented” Russell – who will drive alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season, as Valtteri Bottas heads to Alfa Romeo.

    READ MORE: Mercedes announce George Russell will partner Lewis Hamilton in 2022

    “Over the past three years, it’s been clear to every member of staff here at Williams just how dedicated, focused, and talented George is through his contributions to the team both on and off track,” said Capito, who watched his driver claim P2 on the grid at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

    “He has all the characteristics necessary to achieve the greatest success in our sport and we are therefore delighted for him, both as a team and me personally, to see him rewarded with the opportunity to test himself at Mercedes.

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    Russell scored Williams' first podium since 2017 at Spa

    “We will watch his progress with interest and pride, knowing the role Williams has played in developing his considerable skills,” added Capito.

    Delighted Capito may have been, but Russell’s departure leaves Williams in search of a replacement for the 23-year-old.

    READ MORE: Wolff says signing Russell wasn’t a ‘straightforward decision’ – but backs Briton to form strong partnership with Hamilton

    But Capito didn’t appear overly-concerned, as he said that Williams – who sit eighth in the constructors’ standings currently, having scored 20 points this season, including Russell’s podium for P2 at the Belgian Grand Prix – had “a number of strong options” to choose from, with former Red Bull driver Alex Albon believed to be the frontrunner.

    “We were of course aware of this possibility coming to fruition and therefore have a number of strong driver options available to us,” said Capito. “We now look forward to shaping our future line-up that will help us take the next step in our exciting journey as a team and will make any announcement in due course.”