George Russell says his recent Formula 1 test outing with Mercedes has highlighted the areas Williams needs to work towards to improve during the 2019 season.

The British outfit has endured a dismal start to the campaign following a disrupted start to its pre-season programme after hitting delays with its uncompetitive new car, which has left Russell and teammate Robert Kubica restricted to the back of the grid at the opening two rounds in Australia and Bahrain.

Former Mercedes junior Russell drove for his 2019 race team on the opening day of the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test, before getting behind the wheel of Mercedes’ W10 on the final day of running. The F1 rookie set the pace for the reigning world champions on Wednesday with a time almost three seconds faster than the best lap he produced for Williams during qualifying.

“It was an incredible experience, an experience not many other drivers ever get to try,” Russell said.

“They are currently leading the world championship, you could argue the fastest car on the grid at the moment - so for us at the moment, in our current situation, it was a great opportunity to know what we should be aiming for.”

While Russell stressed he was not able to share confidential data from the test with Williams, he believes there is plenty he and the team can learn from.

“We did agree I can’t come back and share confidential bits, but I’m capable of coming back and saying their car is doing X in these corners and our car isn’t and this is what we need to be working towards,” he explained.

“I think it was a very good test and obviously we all know they have developed more downforce than us – but there’s more to it than that.

“The differences are as expected,” Russell added. “If you look at the timesheets and look where Williams are and where Mercedes, the differences are exactly as you would imagine.”

Russell recently insisted Williams should avoid making any drastic changes in a bid to turnaround its current situation, having previously admitted that fundamental issues with its FW42 challenger could set the team back by months.

Asked for a timeline on seeing real progress from Williams, the reigning Formula 2 champion replied: “I don’t think I can answer that to be honest.

“I’m driving the car, trying to direct the team in the right place and now I have to believe in the team to do their thing.

“Everyone is working as fast as they can to try and improve but in F1, everyone improves. So we have to not only improve but improve at double or triple the rate of everyone else, which in reality, is extremely difficult.

“We have to stay positive but also be realistic. Realistically, we can’t be aiming for much more than we are achieving at the moment. In F1, everyone is developing. We have to find some magic to try and overcome that.”

 

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