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Ma­cau F3 Grand Prix pole po­si­tion qual­i­fier Ge­orge Rus­sell will switch to the GP3 Se­ries next year, and is ex­pected to get a role within the Mercedes For­mula 1 team.

Sources sug­gest that the 18-year-old Bri­ton – the win­ner of the 2014 Mclaren Au­tosport BRDC Young Driver Award – has al­ready be­gun a pro­gramme as a de­vel­op­ment driver with the Ger­man man­u­fac­turer.

Rus­sell, who fin­ished third in the FIA For­mula 3 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship this sea­son, is tipped to join top GP3 Se­ries squad ART Grand Prix.

“I’m go­ing to Abu Dhabi on Thurs­day for the Grand Prix [sup­ported by GP3], and I’ve got some meet­ings with peo­ple over the week­end,” said Rus­sell.

“It’s look­ing 100 per cent that I’ll be rac­ing GP3 next year – it seems like the right move for my ca­reer and what peo­ple around me think is best for me.

“We haven’t de­cided on the team yet, but we’ll see a bit more over the Abu Dhabi week­end.”

Rus­sell fin­ished sev­enth in the Ma­cau Grand Prix af­ter strug­gling for pace in the race, but took two wins in his sec­ond sea­son of F3 this year, driv­ing for Hitech GP along­side Ben Bar­ni­coat and Nikita Mazepin.

He was sixth in the stand­ings in 2015 with Car­lin, hav­ing won the BRDC F4 ti­tle in 2014.

Rus­sell’s fel­low F3 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship race win­ner An­thoine Hu­bert is also ex­pected to join ART as his team-mate in GP3 next sea­son.

MABA win­ner Rus­sell is tipped for Merc F1 role

Pho­tos: LAT, Mick Walker, Stephen Col­bran

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