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Russell prepared to lead 2020 Williams charge

Russell prepared to lead 2020 Williams charge

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Russell prepared to lead 2020 Williams charge

Russell prepared to lead 2020 Williams charge

George Russell is looking forward to a more competitive 2020 Formula One season as he prepares to lead the Williams team up from the bottom of the constructors' standings and into the midfield.

Russell enters his second year of Grand Prix racing on the back of the worst season in the history of the Williams F1 team, but the British driver has said that there are reasons to be optimistic for the coming season.

"What we saw this morning, it looks like a massive success versus last year," said Russell. "The fact that we have a car in winter testing is not something to exactly celebrate. It should be normal.

"We're here, we're going through our programme. We had a very smooth morning. We had no issues. We did every lap we were meant to do, and that was positive."

Commenting on the differences between testing in 2019 and in 2020, Russell added, "The difference is, from my first lap today, I was confident and pushing the car almost to its limits.

"It was almost scary to drive the car on its opening days (last year). Granted, we didn't have all of the bits on our first day when we drove the car.

"Nevertheless the car gave me confidence, but the fact is it's not about giving me confidence, it's about giving me fast lap times.

"If the car is great to drive but slow, that's not good. If it's terrible to drive but fast, then I would prefer that."

Despite his 2019 teammate Robert Kubica being the more experienced driver, much of the responsibility for leading the team fell at the feet of Russell.

In 2020, Russell officially leads the team and this is something that he feels ready for but equally, something that he isn't thinking about too much.

"Yeah. I'm not going into this season thinking I'm the most experienced and I need to lead the team," continued Russell. "I'm going about my business the same as I've always done, which is giving constructive criticism, and trying to motivate the team when needed.

"But because I've one year under my belt and Nicolas doesn't, I'm not approaching anything differently."

The only rookie in the field for 2020, Nicholas Latifi will partner Russell at Williams and Russell is aware of the danger that the Canadian presents.

"He's going to be a tough driver to beat. He's going to keep me on my toes, and I'll keep pushing," said Russell. "Nicolas is a great driver, and probably the most prepared rookie Formula 1 has had, ever, almost.

"He's driven a Force India, a Williams, a Mercedes, a Renault. He's been testing now for three or four years in Formula 1.

"On paper, he's a rookie, but the reality is he's not. He's definitely going to be tough to beat.

"I'm ready for the challenge, and I'm looking forward to the battle."

Both Williams drivers completed significant running on Wednesday with Russell ninth and Latifi twelfth.

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