With Ferrari and McLaren looking the strongest in testing at Barcelona so far, George Russell believes Mercedes are “Certainly not ahead” at the moment.
With Day two of testing concluded, George Russell of Mercedes finished sixth fastest on the time charts. The young Briton completed 66 laps today and already has his opinions on the car’s performance in comparison to others.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of the day in Barcelona on the C3 or the ‘medium’ compound. Next up were AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Their times were set on the ‘soft’ compound tyres.
Russell explained that apart from learning more about his own car, he’s also learned about what’s going around him in the paddock and on the track.
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“We’re seeing some interesting things out there, that’s what testing is for,” said the former Williams driver. “Some teams are looking pretty fast,” continued Russell.
“A red team and an orange team, in particular, look very, very competitive.”
“So let’s see what tomorrow brings and what we can do between this test and Bahrain,” he said as he spoke to the media after putting in his laps.
Interestingly, when asked about their position compared to the others, he plainly replied “Certainly not ahead, [I’m] pretty sure of that.”
All may not be lost for Mercedes just yet
The British driver was not totally negative about their prospects for this year though. He reasoned that there are various factors that determine the times set during testing. Thus, the time charts may still not be the best indicator of things to come in the future.
“Who knows? We all know that we’re on different programmes, but we definitely know from the average of all of the different runs, we’re behind them at the moment.”
Chatting to Russell, he reckons Ferrari and McLaren are looking very strong right now with Mercedes not a match right now. But he’s confident the team can fight back and get the car in shape. #F1 #Testing
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“Let’s wait and see. The championship is not won in Barcelona in winter testing. But it’s certainly been an intriguing two days so far.”
At this moment, even though Russell is eight-tenths off Leclerc’s time, he’s not too worried. Teams at this moment are focussing more on understanding the radically new cars. Being fastest is for sure important but not the only goal right now.
Apart from that, times set in testing must be taken with a pinch of salt. Teams often prefer to not show their true performance until absolutely necessary. Mercedes is certainly no stranger to this practice. The real pecking order will be established in Bahrain in March.