George Russell believes Williams Racing have closed the gap to the rest of the field in Bahrain, but still find themselves bottom of the time-sheets.
While Russell once again proved faster than team-mate Robert Kubica during Friday free practice sessions, his FP1 time of 1:34.188 was over six tenths-of-a-second adrift of the next car.
As lap-times dropped in FP2 Russell’s deficit grew to almost eight tenths-of-a-second. Despite the gap, the British rookie remains positive and says that Williams have closed on their rivals.
“I enjoy driving in Bahrain it’s a really nice track with a good flow to it,” says Russell. “I think we are very slightly closer, as the circuit generally suits the team more than others, but we are where we expected.
“FP1 was quite a challenge, however I think everybody was struggling out there in the hot conditions. FP2 was much nicer to drive but the lap-times are still a long way off and we have a lot of work to do.
Russell had previously suggested that this season’s opening races will be treated as test sessions for Williams as they look to improve their current package. Now, Russell says the team must be prepared to be competitive.
“Whilst we are in this position we need to use it to optimise everything else so when the car does become competitive we are ready to pounce.”