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Alonso names Russell as F1's star of the future

Fernando Alonso is returning to Formula One next season and he is curious to watch the career of Williams driver George Russell, who he thinks is the future of the series.

Russell, a Mercedes junior driver expected to be a frontrunner for a seat with the world champions in 2022, has been hugely impressive at F1's backmarking team. His performances have not gone unnoticed by two-time world champion Alonso, who will be back on the grid with Renault.

"I think there are very talented drivers now in Formula One," Alonso told Sky Sports. "They all came with very nice preparation as well with driver academies that build the performance and the talent, helping them from a very young age. Now they are doing their job.

"From all of them, George Russell is the one that surprises me every weekend. How he's driving the Williams. Zero mistakes. I'm really surprised about his natural speed.

"So if I have to say one name, Russell for the future is going to be my pick."

Russell continued his impressive form at Imola, the host of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend, where he qualified 13th ahead of four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Russell was told about Alonso's comments after the session.

"Yeah, I heard. That means a hell of a lot to me coming from a guy like Fernando. I'm looking forward to racing him next year. I'm sure he's going to be flying. I appreciated it."