Russell's 'crazy' first drive of Mercedes' new F1 car in Storm Eunice

George Russell has described his first experience in the Mercedes 2022 Formula 1 car as “absolutely crazy” due to Storm Eunice making conditions very difficult.
Russell's 'crazy' first drive of Mercedes' new F1 car in Storm Eunice

Teams tend to shakedown their new cars ahead of pre-season testing to ensure they’re working as they should and to eradicate any early teething issues.

The United Kingdom has been hit with strong winds due to Storm Eunice, leading to severe weather warnings, particularly in the south of the country.

Russell admitted that it was the “windiest day” of his motorsport career but despite the adverse weather conditions, he still managed to get through what Mercedes needed him to.

“Yeah, I’m not too sure how many of you are in the UK at the moment or if you can actually hear the wind through the windows at the moment but I’d say it’s the windiest day I’ve ever experienced in my whole motorsport career,” he said. “It was absolutely crazy, but we managed to keep the car on the black stuff.

“To be honest we just went through the program of just running it, making sure I’m comfortable - which I am and I’m pleased about. The car handled I’d say largely as we expected but equally with these conditions, in the wet, and with the wind, there’s not a huge amount you can take from it. So far we’re in a good place and I think we’re in a good window ahead of Barcelona.”

Russell has spent the last three seasons with Williams but has driven for Mercedes previously, in various tests and deputising for Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix when the seven-time champion was ruled out with coronavirus.

Despite being a regular fixture in the team, the first fire-up gave him “goosebumps” ahead of the shakedown.

“Well firstly, this morning it gave me goosebumps when the car was fired up for the first time,” he added. “I’ve driven so many laps in the simulator, I’ve had so many drawings of it, had so many meetings about it but there’s nothing like going to a race track. It almost brings me back to my roots.

“A cold, wet, windy day at Silverstone but here with the Mercedes F1 team. I think the facts are, if you take the exact same car when there’s no wind and then you put it in 100km/h winds it’s going to feel very difficult to drive. It certainly wasn’t easy out there in the conditions but it was certainly in line with what we saw on the simulator.”

“I’ll be going back and correlating this afternoon but it is going to be a constant learning process. We’re all going to take today with a pinch of salt, get through the programme, make sure the car runs okay, make sure the drivers are comfortable and make sure we’re in the best spot possible ahead of Barcelona.”

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