in an almost exclusive battle at the back.
Mercedes protege Russell has outpaced Kubica in every qualifying session so far, while Kubica’s struggles have led to constant suggestions – mainly from his home country in Poland – that he is not receiving the same treatment or equipment as Russell.
Asked if it is easy to ignore that reaction on social media, Russell told Motorsport.com: “It’s a little bit hurtful that 50% of the comments on my posts are hate from Polish supporters, whereas the other 50% is complete support for me.
“I mean, I do truly only care about the view from inside what Williams think of me, what Mercedes think of me. But you also want to be respected from outside.
“I’ve not come across anyone who’s disrespecting me, or giving any hate to me, who are not from Poland.
“So, I appreciate the situation and I can only hope one day I have fans as passionate as his.”
Given Williams’s struggles, Russell’s comparison to Kubica has often been the only way to judge his rookie season.
Kubica scored a fortunate point in the chaotic rain-hit German Grand Prix but Russell completed his qualifying whitewash in the first part of the season with comfortably Williams’s most competitive performance in Hungary, before the summer break.
Robert Kubica, Williams Racing, and George Russell, Williams Racing, on stage
Jerry Andre / Sutton Images