George Russell felt it was an ‘interesting’ opening day of the Russian Grand Prix weekend, although the Briton feels the pace of the car was not as strong as it could be.
The Williams Racing driver ended only seventeenth fastest in the morning session at the Sochi Autodrom but improved to thirteenth in the afternoon, with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team-bound racer feeling confident behind the wheel of the FW43B.
“It was an interesting day today,” said Russell. “The car was feeling good, but the pace wasn’t quite as good as the car was feeling. We will go away and analyse why that was overnight.
“That positive feeling definitely helped us on the high-fuel pace though, and hopefully that will benefit us if it is dry on Sunday.”
The weather looks as though it could take a turn for the worst on Saturday, and if any running is possible in Sochi, Russell feels the experience of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend will hopefully benefit Williams, even if the track is completely different.
“Tomorrow looks like it could be a washout, but fingers crossed that we get some running in at some point,” said Russell. “Our performance at Spa definitely gives us added confidence if it is a wet qualifying, but it is a very different style of track and different conditions here in Sochi so we will need to put in the hard work to achieve a good result.
“If it is going to be dry on Sunday, it will be interesting as the circuit will be very green after the rain and that will make it tricky, so it is not going to be a straightforward weekend.”
“Today was a fairly tricky day of running” – Nicholas Latifi
Team-mate Nicholas Latifi ended eighteenth in the morning and sixteenth in the afternoon in Sochi, with the Canadian also admitting to having a tricky day behind the wheel of his FW43B.
Latifi felt the team made some good gains between the two sessions on Friday, and there is still scope for further improvements to come for the rest of the weekend, if the weather gods do not interfere in the running.
And with a possible washout on Saturday to come, Latifi feels what they have learned on Friday will help the team on Sunday if the circuit is dry.
“Today was a fairly tricky day of running, but we made some good improvements from one session to the next which is important,” said Latifi. “I still feel that we have some things that we can analyse tonight to try and get the car in a better window, and I’ll be looking at the changes I can make to my driving style to find some more lap time.
“Whilst tomorrow’s weather conditions might mean that a lot of today’s running may not be so relevant, everyone will be in the same position and what we’ve learnt today becomes especially valuable if it’s drier on Sunday.”