George Russell believes Mercedes’ lack of pace relative to Red Bull at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was due to how sensitive the W12 is to windy conditions.

Gusty winds of up to 50kph hit the track across the first weekend of the season in Bahrain.

Conditions weren’t as bad as seen in pre-season testing as sandstorms impacted day one of running at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Russell suspects Mercedes and Williams are in the "same boat" with their respective cars being sensitive to the windy conditions.

“Well obviously there’s only been ten days or so since testing until this race,” Russell said after the race in Bahrain. Something as substantial as that will require a complete redesign and we’ve not done it. It’s what we’ve got, it’s what a lot of teams have got. Time will tell, but I believe that potentially Mercedes are in the same boat.” 

Red Bull looked to have the strongest car in Bahrain, while Alfa Romeo - who was often Williams’ main rivals in 2020 - was well clear of the Grove-based outfit in Bahrain. 

“They [Mercedes] probably struggled more this weekend than you’ll see them struggle at races in the near future. And perhaps Red Bull and the likes of Alfa Romeo were more competitive compared to the rest of the field than we will see in races to come. 

“So they were very windy conditions, 50 km/h winds, it’s very open, very exposed, and when you’re driving around at 300 km/h even a five km/h wind makes a difference, so you can imagine what 50 km/h is like, with gusts of 60/70/80km/h.”