The 24-year-old Briton earned promotion to the Mercedes works team for the upcoming 2022 campaign thanks to his consistent eye-catching performances for strugglers Williams across his first three seasons in F1. 

Russell will partner seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton at the team which has clinched eight consecutive constructors’ titles and seven drivers’ championships since the start of 2014. 

But with a major overhaul to the technical regulations coming into effect this year, Russell is refusing to get ahead of himself by thinking about the prospect of fighting for his first world championship. 

“It’s not even something I’m thinking about, to be honest,” said Russell. 

“I think it’s quite incredible how racing drivers’ minds work, that when you put the helmet on - it doesn’t matter if you’re fighting for a win or, for me for the last few years, fighting at the back of the grid – you always get on with the exact same mindset.

“I had the best example of that in Bahrain when I raced for Mercedes [in 2020]. For me, that was just another race, whether I was out in front or starting on the front row, the approach is the same, the mindset is the same, the work you put into the event, post-event, is exactly the same. 

“So, work on the process and worry about everything afterwards.”

Mercedes rounded off a strong opening pre-season test at Barcelona with Hamilton and Russell locking out the top of the timesheets in a Silver Arrows 1-2. 

After completing 209 laps across the three days of running, Russell was back on the Mercedes simulator to prepare for the second three-day test in Bahrain, which begins on Thursday. 

There has been talk of Mercedes and Red Bull bringing substantial upgrade packages to Sakhir. While Russell remained tight-lipped about exactly how much of the W13 would change, he admitted he is expecting to see developments in Bahrain. 

“We arrived in Barcelona with our best estimate of where we needed to place the car but obviously, there’s a lot of things on track that were quite different to what some people may have expected,” Russell explained. 

“So we need to go away and try and optimise from the limitations we had. I think we’ll see some changes come Bahrain and throughout the season I’m sure the development slope is going to be pretty rapid for everyone. 

“Whoever can get on top of that quickest and most efficiently will be the ones on top at the end of the season.”