At the start of the 2017 season, Russell was signed by Mercedes and joined its junior programme. After sealing the 2017 GP3 Series championship, he progressed onto Formula 2, where he held off compatriot Lando Norris for the 2018 title.
The 20-year-old will partner Robert Kubica at the Grove squad next year, who completes a remarkable comeback following a horrific rally accident in 2011. Despite the added pressures that F1 brings, Russell says that he is now ready for the challenge.
"Obviously I'm a rookie, I'm not going to go out there and do anything stupid. But I feel like this is my time and I'm ready to do the business. It's a huge step up, not only in the speed aspect, from Formula 2 to Formula 1. There's so much extra coming with it. You're in the eyes of millions of viewers.
"I've gone from working with 30 team members in Formula 2 to 750 with Williams. There's much more pressure on the driver's shoulders than just driving the car."
Having spent much of the last two years with Mercedes, Russell says that he has benefitted massively from being in debriefs with five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton.
"I've been in a very fortunate position in the last two years, being part of Mercedes and having the opportunity to be in the debriefs and the meetings alongside Lewis.
"It's very surreal to be honest. The past couple of years, since joining the Mercedes programme, have been a step-by-step process. It almost felt like a natural step to get this opportunity. This is everything I've dreamed of."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
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