Mercedes turned to its partner Williams for a suitable stand-in for Hamilton, giving Russell an incredible opportunity at the wheel of the fastest car on the F1 grid.
“Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everybody at Williams for giving me this opportunity,” Russell said. “I might be wearing a different race suit this weekend, but I’m a Williams driver and I’ll be cheering my team on every step of the way.
"I see this as a great chance to learn from the best outfit on the grid right now and to come back as an improved driver, with even more energy and experience to help push Williams further up the grid. A big thank you also to Mercedes for putting their faith in me.
"Obviously, nobody can replace Lewis, but I'll give my all for the team in his absence from the moment I step in the car. Most importantly, I wish him a speedy recovery. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and can’t wait to get out on track this week.”
Although 22-year-old Russell has yet to score a point since entering F1 with Williams in 2019, he has garnered a reputation as one of the most reliable drivers on the grid, and one with huge potential. The 2017 GP3 Champion and 2018 F2 Champion has outqualified his team-mates at every single F1 race, a total of 36 qualifying sessions (against former team-mate Robert Kubica and current team-mate Nicholas Latifi). That ties him with Nelson Piquet on the list of all-time outqualifying streaks, behind only Ayrton Senna (44) and Michael Schumacher (56).