Much has been made of Mercedes F1’s pre season misery. The Silver Arrows, who are so used to perfection, have achieved anything but that in Bahrain. From gearbox issues, to beached cars and handling problems, the Brackley-based outfit has seen the lot.
This unusual start for the German team has led many to question whether they’ll be able to defend their title this year. However, George Russell is adamant that Mercedes will be firing on all cylinders come the season opener.
“They are Mercedes. They are going to be fine. I am pretty confident on that.”
Just how ‘fine’ they’ll be will only be revealed come March 28th. But it certainly looks as though they might have a title challenge on their hands. Main rivals Red Bull had what one could consider a perfect three days of testing.
Their two drivers, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, put in the highest number of laps for a single team. Moreover, unlike Mercedes, the Austrian team didn’t face any sort of obstacles either.
George Russell, meanwhile, had a fairly decent test himself. The Briton was given the chance to drive only as late as day 3. However, he responded by putting in the 6th quickest lap of the day. Apart from that, he didn’t face any issues. His start bodes well for a pivotal personal season ahead. Although he wasn’t too optimistic about his team’s prospects.
It is no secret just how highly Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and indeed the whole world rates Russell. Having already shot himself into the spotlight with that incredible weekend in Bahrain, the Briton is certainly one of the leading contenders to get the drive at Silver Arrows next season.
But there are still a few things he can do to bolster those claims; chief among which would be a few points finishes. Russell was plagued by some rotten luck and an error on his part during the races last year. He has yet to open his account with the Grove-based team.
If he can replicate the kind of pace he showed in qualifying last year to the races, then he may well have set his name in stone atop the list of Mercedes hopefuls.