George Russell believes the Williams FW42 has good potential after completing over 100 laps in the team’s 2019 car at the start of the second pre-season test in Barcelona.
Williams missed the majority of the opening week of testing due to delays with its new car, only getting out on track for the first time on the third afternoon. With just 88 laps completed before Tuesday, Russell’s total of 119 on Tuesday represented welcome mileage, and the British rookie says there are some positive signs after finishing the day ninth-fastest overall.
“It feels like a proper day one for us, really,” Russell said. “Great to get some laps on the car, just understand a bit of low fuel, high fuel, what the car’s doing, and gives us an indication of what to do the rest of the week.
“It certainly hasn’t made up for last week, as everybody else at this stage are fine-tuning the balance whereas we’re needing to understand the car, but I feel we’re at a good spot. The car isn’t in the perfect window right now, but I feel like it’s definitely got the potential, and we’ve still got three days ahead of us to do that.”
After a fraught week in Barcelona for the first test, Russell says that the smoother start this time around has improved the atmosphere in the Williams garage.
“I think everybody’s happy with today’s performance,” Russell said. “Not in terms of lap times, but no issues, everybody’s been working so hard… you’ve got to remember we’re all human; everybody’s pretty knackered as they’ve been working 24/7 over the last two weeks to get us ready. So everybody’s done a great job, and long may it continue.”
The reigning Formula 2 champion says he is not overly concerned about the lost mileage compared to the rest of the grid, given the difference in conditions between Barcelona in February and the race venues this season.
“No, not really [worried],” he insisted. “Everything you do in testing, you can only take with a pinch of salt because the temperature here is going to be much, much cooler than it will be when we arrive in Australia and Bahrain. All of the races are much, much hotter. So the most important we can learn from this test are the aero runs – to see what the aero is doing – and also just to make sure the reliability is good, so I don’t think we’re too worried.”