George Russell thanks Fernando Alonso for high F1 praise at Emilia-Romagna GP
Williams' British driver thanks Alonso for singling him out as the young driver to watch in F1's future; Russell again starred in qualifying to take 13th on Imola grid ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 01/11/20 12:15am
George Russell said praise from Fernando Alonso meant "a hell of a lot to me" after the Spaniard told Sky F1 that the Williams driver was the youngster he saw with the brightest future in the sport.
Alonso, the two-time champion who is returning to F1 next year with Renault, named the 22-year-old Russell as the driver who had impressed him most among the sport's exciting group of emerging young talent.
"From all of them, George Russell is the one that surprises me every weekend," said Alonso to Sky Sports.
"How he's driving the Williams. Zero mistakes. I'm really surprised about his natural speed. So if I have to say one name, Russell for the future is going to be my pick."
Russell thanked Alonso for his comments.
"That means a hell of a lot to me coming from a guy like Fernando," said Russell during an appearance at the SkyPad after qualifying an impressive 13th for the Emilia-Romagna GP.
"Looking forward to racing him next year. I'm sure he's going to be flying. Appreciate it."
Alonso's observations were likely based on the kind of eye-catching qualifying performance Russell again delivered at Imola on Saturday.
For the eighth time in 13 grands prix this season, Russell qualified for Q2 and also stretched his immaculate record of outqualifying his team-mate in F1 to 34 races.
And, for the second weekend in a row, he claimed the Saturday scalp of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.
"To be honest we weren't expecting Q2 today and to come away outqualifying a Racing Point [Stroll] and Ferrari [Vettel] is just mega," admitted Russell.
"I don't know how we keep pulling it off on a Saturday, to be honest. Driving tracks like this is such a thrill."
F1's young guns in Sky F1's Twitch Quartet Quiz - extended cut
Russell, who triumphed in F1's Virtual GP series during lockdown, featured alongside three of his long-time friends, racing rivals and Twitch aficionados for an entertaining yet very competitive quiz for Sky Sports F1.
Watch the full fun-filled 25-minute edit in the YouTube video above.