Mercedes arrived in Austin having won every pole since the hybrid turbo era began in 2014, but they appeared to have lost their edge early.
Sebastian Vettel's tenure at Aston Martin got off to a shaky start, with reliability issues hampering his running in pre-season testing and a disastrous first race.
Aston Martin, by their own admission, was negatively impacted by this year's changes to the aerodynamic regulations.
The race in Doha will take place on the evening of November 21 and will be a permanent fixture on the Formula 1 calendar beginning in 2023.
Lewis Hamilton was actually fastest on the day and won qualifying, but he will start from 11th due to a 10-place grid penalty.
Russell’s promotion to Mercedes, where he will replace the Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas, is a huge step forward.
Russell has recently scored points in four of the last five Grand Prix, propelling him to 15th in the drivers' standings this year.
The race in Qatar will also serve as the kickoff for a series of races in the Middle East, including on December 5 in Saudi Arabia.
Witnesses at the Italian Grand Prix recalled Binotto and Leclerc arguing heatedly in the team garage earlier this month.
Hamilton's win re-establishes him as the championship leader, but Verstappen's drive reduces the Brit's lead to just two points.