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Russell waiting for "sandbags to come off" rival teams

Russell waiting for "sandbags to come off" rival teams

F1 News

Russell waiting for "sandbags to come off" rival teams

Russell waiting for "sandbags to come off" rival teams

Williams driver George Russell has no doubt rival teams were sandbagging during the pre-season test in Bahrain which has left him expressing caution ahead of the opening race on Formula 1's return to the country.

On his only day of testing on Sunday in the FW43B, Russell racked up a remarkable 158 laps, while posting an equally impressive sixth-fastest time at the International Circuit of one minute 30.117secs.

The British driver finished the day less than a tenth of a second behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, although knows that will not be the case come qualifying for the curtain-raising Bahrain Grand Prix later this month.

The key area for Russell was the fact the car ran reliably across the three days. He said: "The test was a very productive one for the team, we did an incredible amount of laps, with no issues reliability wise.

"It's definitely a positive the car was reliable. To finish first, first you have to finish. We saw it last year in Austria [for the first race] that only 11 cars finished.

"I'm not saying that will be the case again, but if that were to be the case at any races I think we're in a very good position to be one of those cars.

"In terms of timings, it's not relevant. I was a tenth behind Hamilton, but I can be pretty confident to say that in two weeks' time I won't be.

"We're all doing our own programmes, we've all got our own agendas, and other teams have the sandbags to come off."

In respect of his own lap time, Russell added: "It wasn't full quali trim but we didn't have the sandbags on board."

Unlike the other nine teams, Williams was the only one to provide its reserve driver time behind the wheel as Roy Nissany completed running on the first day.

Russell has insisted that for him one day of testing "was enough", but recognises he could have endured issues like other teams encountered at various times.

"I've been very fortunate that I had a very clean, smooth day," assessed Russell. "I did 850 kilometres, which is my longest day in any race car, which is massive.

"But equally I could have had a day where I had a gearbox issue or anything and out for half a day which would have really set me back."

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