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First impressions of W13 have been interesting, says Russell

Though he has only driven Mercedes’ 2022 contender in the simulator, as he returns “home”, George Russell admits his first impressions of the W13 have been interesting.

“First impressions have been interesting,” he says of the car which will be unveiled on Friday. “It’s a very different car to the previous era.

“The characteristics of how the downforce is produced is completely different,” he continues. “We’re still learning as we’re going, there’s still a huge amount of improvements to be made to bring everything together, to make it as nice as possible to drive.

“I see a lot of people in the same boat,” he adds, “we’re just learning so much day after day, whether it’s in the wind tunnel or in the simulator. It’s going to be a year of development.

“Everybody wants to go to the first race and have the fastest car possible, but what will be more important is understanding what your limitations are and how are you going to improve from those limitations to build the best foundations possible.”

A Mercedes junior since early 2017, making his F1 race weekend debut in opening practice with Force India at Interlagos that same year, months after driving the Silver Arrow in the post-Hungary test, Russell made his race debut with Williams in 2019 having signed a multi-year deal.

Though continually linked with Mercedes ever since, and having stood in for Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain last year, Russell now finally returns “home”.

“Because I spent so much time with the team prior to joining Williams, I feel like I know everybody so well already,” he says.

“So we were just straight to business on the important bits and bobs, to understand the new car, to understand the challenges, and to try and prepare as best as possible for the season ahead.

“And I think following the conclusion of last year, there’s so much motivation and fire within the whole factory to bounce back,” he adds, a clear reference to Abu Dhabi. “And that is incredible for me to see.

“My hope for 2022 is to really get the maximum for myself and the team around me,” he continues. “I think it’s going to be such an interesting year of development. And I think that’s truly where all the performance is going to be. But in terms of a result, I truly don’t believe you can put a value or target on that, because nobody knows where they’re going to be when they reach the first race.

“You have to have your micro targets on where am I going to improve on myself? Where am I going to improve on the car? And if you do every single aspect correctly you give yourself the best chance of reaching the obvious goal.”




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