Tydd St Giles driver goes fastest during testing in Bahrain
His Formula One career so far has focused on trying to improve a struggling Williams, but George Russell made the most of his guest appearance in a Mercedes to go fastest last Wednesday in Bahrain.
Taking over from Bahrain Grand Prix race-winner Lewis Hamilton for the second of two days of testing, Russell posted a 1m 29.029s to pip Sergio Perez in the final ten minutes of track running.
A final attempt to improve fell just 0.005s short as Russell completed more than 100 laps, ending 0.066s ahead of Perez.
The Mexican’s Racing Point team spent the two days trying to extract more performance from a significant upgrade package introduced in Australia.
Russell’s surprise sudden switch to Mercedes wasn’t as strange as it first appeared.
The Lynn-born youngster is a full-time Williams driver on what was announced as a ‘multi-year’ deal starting this season.
But he was a Mercedes junior before that and remains closely watched by the title-winning team.
The 21 year-old renewed his 2017 and 2018 testing role with Mercedes when he got behind the wheel of its current car last week.
Fielding Russell means Mercedes completed one of its mandatory ‘rookie days’ as the Briton only made his second Grand Prix start a fortnight ago.
Two of each team’s four test days need to be conducted by a driver who has not started more than two F1 races.
It means that if reserve driver Esteban Ocon is going to drive Mercedes’ 2019 car during the season, he will either get one day at Barcelona next month or wait until Mercedes participates in Pirelli tyre testing.
The 1,000th Formula 1 World Championship event takes place at the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix this weekend.
The Chinese Grand Prix is currently held at the Shanghai International Circuit.
When completed in 2004, it was the most expensive Formula One circuit facility, costing more than £240 million. The track is 5.451km long and features one of the trickiest corners combinations on the F1 calendar.