George Russell 63: Why does George Russell drive with No 63?
George Russell 'gutted' to miss out on Sakhir GP victory
George Russell made plenty of headlines in the 2020 F1 season when he was called up to replace Lewis Hamilton for the Sakhir Grand Prix after the seven-time world champion tested positive for coronavirus. Russell impressed in his debut Mercedes drive, only for a pitstop blunder and a late puncture to deny him what could have been a sensational victory.
After the race, he said: “I can’t really put it into words to be honest. Jumping out of the car… it wasn’t a nice feeling.
“I’ve had races where I’ve had victories taken away from me, but twice? I just couldn’t believe it.
“I gave it everything I had. I was managing the race at the start, I felt confident, comfortable, managing the gap to Valtteri [Bottas].
“Then obviously we had the muddle up in the pit-stop, that put us on the back foot, I had to overtake.
“I think we still could have caught Sergio [Perez], we had such a tyre advantage, the car was so quick. Gutted.”
Russell returned to Williams for the season finale in Abu Dhabi following Hamilton’s recovery.
However, the 22-year-old has put himself in a great position to earn a seat with Mercedes in the near future.
Russell has used No 63 since joining F1 with Williams in 2019 and the number was also visible during his brief stint in Hamilton’s car.
Why does George Russell drive with No 63?
In an interview with YouTube channel WTF1 in 2019, Russell explained the story behind the No 63.
The F1 star said: “I have an older brother who used to race go-karting.
“He started when he was 10 years and I was just a child so I followed him round the tracks.
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“He started off in this indoor rental car space just for birthday parties and he started enjoying it
“He continued going to this place and for whatever reason – I don’t actually know the whole story behind it – but the quickest guy got the No 63 car.
“I don’t really know why that was.
“So he was the quickest at this indoor karting place and he took that number into his karting career and I took over.”
Drivers select their own number to use throughout their F1 careers.
Only the world champion can select No 1, but Hamilton continues to use No 44 despite winning the F1 title seven times.
In an appearance on the Graham Norton Show in 2019, Hamilton explained why he still drives with his old karting number.
“Naturally I think I am a target, but my race number when I was eight years old was 44,” he said.
“Even though I am number one, and I have been for the last couple of years and I should have number one on my car, I keep 44 on there.
“So every year I feel like I’m starting a clean slate and no one’s champion, but I want to be the champion.”
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