Williams heads into the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix under no pressure given low expectations for its performance, according to George Russell.

Williams started its 2019 running on the back foot after delays with the build of its new car forced it to miss the first two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

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Coming off the back of a difficult 2018 season that saw it finish last in the standings, Williams is widely expected to prop up the running order once again at the start of the season.

Heading into his debut F1 weekend in Australia, Russell said that he does not feel under any pressure given the low expectations, giving him the chance to try and make the most of enjoying his first grand prix.

“I think from my side and the team’s side, we’re going in there with no pressure on our shoulders,” Russell said.

“Everyone’s expecting us to finish last by a long way, come out the garage and the wheels will fall off the car. And I think anything else we do is going to be an achievement from the outside perspective.

“I’m just going out there to enjoy it, and make the most of this.”

Asked about changes made to the FW42 car since testing, Russell said that while a step in performance is anticipated, there is still a sizeable bridge to gap to the rest of the midfield runners.

“We are expecting an improvement from Barcelona because we didn’t make the most of the package we had. But now we can smoothen the edges, fine-tune what we’ve got, and already we’ll find a bit of performance,” Russell said.

“But in all honesty, we were already so far behind in Barcelona, we’ve got a huge step to leap really. We’ll have to see how we get on this weekend.

“We’ve got to take it step by step and get the right process in place.”

 

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