George Russell feels Williams has “definitely got the potential” after getting the team’s “proper day one” completed with 119 laps having missed the majority of the first Formula 1 pre-season test due to delays.

The British driver produced more laps on day one of the second test than Williams had managed across the entire opening test after it missed the first two-and-a-half days plus a shakedown due to delays in its FW42 car build.

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Russell, who effectively completed two race distances at Circuit de Catalunya, says Williams ticked off its extensive testing programme for day one and feels clear progress has been made even if the team still trails its trouble-free F1 rivals.

“It feels like a proper day one for us really. Great to get some laps on the car, just understand a bit of low fuel, high fuel, what the car’s doing, and gives us an indication of what to do the rest of the week,” Russell said.

“It certainly hasn’t made up for last week as everybody else at this stage are fine tuning the balance whereas we’re needing to understand the car, but I feel we’re at a good spot.

“The car isn’t in the perfect window right now but I feel like it’s definitely got the potential and we’ve still got three days ahead of us to do that.”

Russell also feels the day brought back positivity to Williams after a dispiriting opening test with just 88 laps completed, as he was able to begin to feel the true performance from the Mercedes-powered Williams F1 car ahead of his race debut in Australia.

“Absolutely. The whole team [is positive],” he said. “Everybody’s put their heart and soul into making sure that today ran smoothly and it has, we’ve had no issues, and we’ve completed our test programme as planned.

“It was really nice to finally push quite hard, we had some very good runs on the C3 and the C1 tyre.

“We have some work to do on the C4 and the C5 but I think it’s only normal. We’ve only run that set of tyres once and we got a good understanding of the issues. I’m feeling quite positive.”

Russell hands over test driving duties at Williams to teammate Robert Kubica tomorrow (February 27) before returning for his final scheduled day of testing on Thursday (February 28).

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