Formula 1

George Russell: “I am optimistic that we can go to Melbourne and be in the fight”

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

George Russell ended a productive testing programme for the Williams Racing team at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Friday by completing one hundred and forty-six laps, but the Briton remains hesitant to commit to where the team will sit when it comes to the Australian Grand Prix next month.

Russell remains somewhat optimistic that Williams can be part of the midfield battle in 2020 after spending all of 2019 at the very back of the field, and he insists he heads to Albert Park looking to do his very best to give the team a much needed boost.

“It was a productive day and we got in almost all the laps we wanted to,” said Russell.  “We had a good morning doing qualifying simulations and managed a race simulation in the afternoon.

“We got plenty of laps on the board and it was good preparation ahead of Australia. No doubt we are in a better position than last year, but we’re not going to get carried away.

“I am optimistic that we can go to Melbourne and be in the fight, but until we get there we won’t know for sure. From both myself and everyone at the team, we are going to go there and do our best to get everything out of the car.”

“We have had a good winter testing period” – Dave Robson

Dave Robson, the Head of Vehicle Performance at Williams, said it was a great final day of testing for the team, and he feels the team made the most of the track time available to them across the six days.

Williams were able to replicate a race grid simulation during the lunch break before Russell completed a number of long runs as the 2018 FIA Formula 2 champion rounded off the testing programme with the ninth fastest time of the fourteen drivers who took to the track.

“Conditions for the final day of this season’s winter testing were good with cool calm conditions this morning and light cloud cover during the afternoon,” said Robson.  “Following the rain yesterday morning, the track seemed to have recovered fully to be in very good condition.

“George was back in the car today and completed a programme like that of Nicholas [Latifi] yesterday. Performance running in the morning featured the softer compounds as we looked to finalise our setup testing.

“During the lunch break we conducted a full grid simulation before going into some longer high fuel runs using the harder compounds from the 2020 range. Like Nicholas yesterday, George enjoyed a productive day, refining his car setup and reacquainting himself with the vagaries of race tyre management.

“Overall, we have had a good winter testing period and have made the most of the six days available in this newly compressed format. We have completed in excess of 100 laps on all but one of the days, which has allowed us to complete almost everything that we intended.”

George Russell hopes Williams can be part of the midfield battle in 2020 – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd
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