Russell: Mercedes only able to make "minor" tweaks to help me fit in its F1 car

Mercedes has only made minor changes to help George Russell fit in its Formula 1 car, which will nevertheless help him if he races for the team in Abu Dhabi

Russell: Mercedes only able to make "minor" tweaks to help me fit in its F1 car

Russell is waiting on the results of Lewis Hamilton's latest COVID-19 test to find out whether he will get a second race weekend appearance alongside Valtteri Bottas after his starring performance over the Sakhir Grand Prix weekend, or if he will see out the 2020 season back at Williams.

The British driver came close to taking pole and then winning the second event in Bahrain, despite having an uncomfortable time fitting into a car that had not been optimised to fit a taller driver - which included having to wear race boots that were a size smaller than he normally does.

PLUS: The warning bells from Russell and Perez's Sakhir brilliance

When asked by Autosport if Mercedes had made any changes to help him fit better in the W11 regardless of whether he races, Russell explained that the short turnaround time between the last two races of the season meant "we've made some minor modifications".

He added: "But there's only a limited amount of things you can do in the short period of time that we've had.

"And, ultimately, a lot more work needs to go in to get me comfortable in the car.

"We've got some slightly different things on the steering wheel, which makes things easier for me.

"So that is positive. But having had a race weekend in the car, everything should feel more natural."

Russell said he had felt "a bit more battered and bruised" the day after he led the majority of the Sakhir race, compared to how he normally feels after a grand prix in Williams' FW43.

"Physically it was harder - which takes its toll on the body," he explained.

"But, ultimately, that Bahrain outer loop is not the most challenging of circuits physically, which made things easier with my limitations.

"I guess this will be slightly harder with 22 corners on the track and not really getting a second to breathe.

"But the adrenaline of driving this car and fighting for victories allows you to just power through the pain."

Although Russell came close to winning on his first appearance for F1's leading squad, where he has been a junior driver since 2016, he had approached the event without targeting a specific result, with the team not demanding he do better than reaching the top four in qualifying.

Russell said that, despite his performance last time out, his expectations would remain the same if he were to deputise for Hamilton once again for the season finale.

"Obviously [it's] really nice to have been recognised for the job that we achieved last week but I'll be approaching this weekend the same," he said.

"It's only my second grand prix in the Mercedes, I've still got a hell of a lot to learn and it's going to be difficult.

"Last week absolutely exceeded expectations.

"Valtteri was pushing me the whole way from Friday onwards, put it on pole and then pushed me throughout the race as well.

"It was tricky and we're back to a more ordinary circuit this weekend. [But] it would be great to get another opportunity."

shares
comments
Leclerc to "choose the fights better" after first-lap clash in F1 Sakhir GP
Previous article

Leclerc to "choose the fights better" after first-lap clash in F1 Sakhir GP

Next article

Bottas accepts "I need to be better" after recent run of F1 form

Bottas accepts "I need to be better" after recent run of F1 form
Load comments
The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022