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Verstappen urges Russell to "enjoy night and day" difference between Mercedes and Williams

Verstappen urges Russell to "enjoy night and day" difference between Mercedes and Williams

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Verstappen urges Russell to "enjoy night and day" difference between Mercedes and Williams

Verstappen urges Russell to "enjoy night and day" difference between Mercedes and Williams

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has urged George Russell to "enjoy the night and day" difference during his first experience of racing a competitive car when he takes over Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes for this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix.

World champion Hamilton will miss the race due as he self-isolates in the wake of a positive Covid test, giving Williams driver Russell the opportunity to mix it with the frontrunners in Formula 1.

Verstappen - who himself made a mid-season leap from a midfield car to race-winning machine back in 2016 when moving from Toro Rosso to Red Bull - encouraged Russell to make the most of his chance to drive the fastest car on the grid.

When asked if he had any advice for the Briton, Verstappen said: "Just enjoy it, because it will be a difference of day and night to drive that car. And in a good way.

"I went through the same thing when I got into Red Bull. There was a lot to learn, but when I first hit the track I was like, 'oh my god, what a difference!' You don't know about that before.

“Fortunately for him, there are not too many corners this weekend, but mostly a lot of straights. That will make it easier for him to learn and get used to everything.

"Expectations will be sky-high, but you'll just have to get up to speed and not think about what the outside world is thinking. Focus on working with the team and just enjoy it. It's the best car on the grid, so you better make the most of it. ”

The second consecutive night-race will be held on the outer circuit at the Sakhir International complex for the inaugural time, with laps expected to be completed in around 54-seconds.

Whilst Hamilton - who has been victorious 11 times this season - will be missing, Verstappen doesn't believe his odds of winning have changed for the better, citing the layout change and the strength of Mercedes as obstacles to overcome.

“There is no Lewis but there is still Valtteri [Bottas] and George driving the fastest car in the field,” he explained.

“So it will still be very tough and not easy, especially with the layout we have. Lap times will be very close with the guys behind us from last week. I don’t expect it to be easy out there.”

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