Russell: Mercedes 'secondary' in 2017
21 July 2017 – George Russell says his role with Mercedes is "secondary" in 2017 as he focuses on winning the GP3 championship, which he comfortably leads after three rounds.
Russell, 19, joined Mercedes' young driver programme at the beginning of the year, a position which includes regular simulator work and attending Formula 1 races with the team.
He will also make his official F1 test debut at the post-Hungarian Grand Prix session, following on from a private outing in Portugal, at the wheel of the 2015-spec W06 Hybrid.
However, the Briton insists that winning in GP3 is his number one priority, and he holds a sizeable 35-point lead over ART team-mate Anthoine Hubert, having taken two wins from six races.
"I've said really throughout the year, those two things are really separate for me," Russell told GPUpdate.net, when asked about the balance between ART/GP3 and Mercedes.
"My main goal is the GP3 title, and everything with Mercedes is almost secondary.
"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how well I do in their simulator or how well I'm developing their car, if I'm not getting results in GP3, they can't move me further up the ladder.
"Like I say, GP3 and ART is number one, and Mercedes is secondary."
Russell, though, is relishing the support and feedback from Mercedes.
"I was quite surprised, I saw Toto [Wolff] and Niki Lauda, down at the bottom of the podium," he said, after winning on home soil at Silverstone last weekend.
"I then went to see the engineers, who I have quite a good relationship with.
"Everyone was watching the race from start to finish, and before the race they just give me a bit of advice with how the circuit is faring or what they've learnt."
GP3 will also appear on the Formula 1 support bill at the Hungarian, Belgian, Italian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, while Jerez will host the standalone, penultimate round.