George Russell says he spent “too long” racing Williams in his early years in Formula One.
The Briton joined the grid in 2019 after winning the 2018 Formula 2 Championship and signed a multi-year contract with the Grove-based team.
Williams struggled for form, however, and spent much of the 2019 campaign battling for the bottom of the order.
The team has not regained strong pace in recent years, finishing bottom in the constructors championship three times in the last four seasons.
Russell joined Mercedes for the 2022 campaign after being part of the youth program for a number of years.
However, he says his time at Williams was too drawn out as he rarely fought for points.
“I think when we signed with Williams in 2018 this was a team considering they had just spent three years taking podiums, finishing P3, P3, P5 in the constructors championship and then they had one had a very bad year in 2018, where they finished last,” he said on the Beyond the grid podcast.
“But we thought this is a team that can recover from that at this point and they will be back in the P5 to P3 competitive region. So we all agreed that three years was a good time to fight for points, maybe podiums.
“In retrospect, three years at the end of the starting grid alone was too long. But unfortunately Claire [Williams] did a pretty good job negotiating the contract and there was, so to speak, no way out.”
However, Russell says moving to Mercedes at the start of a new era with the new 2022 cars was better than stepping up sooner.
“But looking back, I think it would have been incredibly difficult to switch to Mercedes last year, or even 2020, because to go up against Lewis when that car had been adapted to his driving style over so many years, that was his baby as such.
“While it’s a new sheet of paper for everyone now, everyone is starting from scratch and that was probably the right time.”