MANAMA: George Russell will drive for Mercedes in place of Lewis Hamilton, who tested positive for coronavirus, at this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix.
"Mercedes opened talks with Williams about borrowing the Briton, who has been backed by the Silver Arrows throughout his career, for the second Bahrain race when it became clear Hamilton was in isolation and would not be able to drive. They eventually came to an arrangement, with Williams releasing Russell to drive the Silver Arrows alongside Valtteri Bottas in the penultimate round," Formula 1 said in a statement.
Jack Aitken will replace Russell at Williams, joining regular driver Nicholas Latifi.
Russell has extensive experience driving for Mercedes, having completed six days of running for the world champions since 2017. His most recent run was in last year's end-of-season Abu Dhabi test.
"Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to everybody at Williams for giving me this opportunity. 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," Russell said in a statement.
"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," he added.
Mercedes, in a statement, on Tuesday confirmed that the seven-time world champion, Hamilton, tested positive for coronavirus.
"The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team regrets to announce that Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be unable to take part in this weekend's Sakhir GP. Lewis was tested three times last week and returned a negative result each time, the last of which was on Sunday afternoon at the Bahrain International Circuit as part of the standard race weekend testing programme," Mercedes had said.
"However, he woke up on Monday morning with mild symptoms and was informed at the same time that a contact prior to arrival in Bahrain had subsequently tested positive. Lewis therefore took a further test and returned a positive result. This has since been confirmed by a retest," it had added.