Lewis Hamilton is out of contract at the moment but the seven-time world champion should sign a multiple-season deal to stay on with the constructors’ champions.
But Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who Russell outshone in Bahrain, is out of contract at the end of the 2021 season and if the Finn does not improve against the Brit, could find his seat up for grabs.
Russell is well placed to rival Bottas for a drive alongside Hamilton provided he maintains the kind of form he has already shown, having never been out-qualified by Latifi while in a Williams.
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And it is entirely possible that by the time Williams get the most out of their ties with Mercedes, although they may well begin sharing information as early as the new season in March, Russell may have made the step up.
That decision will be made by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who will field plenty of questions about the futures of Bottas and Russell over the next 12 months.
“I think it’s continuing the form, and continuing the positive attitude internally with the team and externally,” Russell said when asked what he must do in 2021 to earn a 2022 race seat with Mercedes.