BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell will drive for Mercedes in this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, replacing Lewis Hamilton after the world champion tested positive for COVID-19.
A deal was struck between Mercedes and Williams - who use Mercedes power units - on Tuesday evening to allow Russell to race for the Brackley squad at the Bahrain race, with a possible extension to also include next weekend's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix if Hamilton cannot return.
Though contracted to Williams, Russell has been part of Mercedes' young driver program since 2016 and has impressed in his two seasons in F1 despite the limitations of his machinery, with Hamilton recently calling him a potential world champion.
Russell's move to Mercedes paves the way for Jack Aitken to make his F1 debut for Williams. The British driver currently competes in the feeder Formula 2 series, and will become the first driver of Korean heritage to start a Grand Prix.
The Sakhir Grand Prix will feature two drivers making their F1 race debuts, with Pietro Fittipaldi set to start for Haas in place of Romain Grosjean, as the Frenchman continues to recover from a fiery crash in last weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.