George Russell is cautious about Mercedes’ performance despite Lewis Hamilton’s leading display on the final day of F1 testing. After a subdued first two days, the seven-time world champion set the fastest time of the week late on the final day in Barcelona. The 37-year-old surpassed his new teammate’s quickest lap, who got the ball rolling in the day’s morning session.
Hamilton, in search of an unprecedented eighth world title next season, was 0.095 seconds faster than his young teammate as both set their quickest times on the softest tyre compound available. Despite the F1 legend’s lap-time, Russell has refused to get carried away by saying fans shouldn’t look into their times too much, before adding that Ferrari and McLaren were “looking incredibly strong”.
“Lap time-wise, I don’t think it’s representative at all,” Russell said, as quoted by BBC Sport. “Even though we are top of the timesheets, I wouldn’t read too much into it. “We have some improvements to make, as we’re not fully happy with the balance of the car and the limitations we have currently. But we have a good indication of the direction we need to go in.”
Hamilton shared his thoughts on the first round of testing, which proved to be a mixed bag for the reigning constructors champions. “It’s been an interesting few days. It’s not been the easiest or smoothest running. We have had some obstacles to overcome,” he said. “We would always want more laps but I am happy with today – we have had 100 laps, which for a half-day wasn’t too bad.”
When asked if he knew at all how competitive his team is right now ahead of the 2022 season, Hamilton replied: “You never do on the first week. We have no idea where we are.” During F1’s first round of pre-season tests, the news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent shockwaves around the world. As result, the FIA opted to cancel this year’s Russian Grand Prix.
“The FIA Formula 1 World Championship visits countries all over the world with a positive vision to unite people, bringing nations together,” the FIA’s statement read. “We are watching the developments in Ukraine with sadness and shock and hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to the present situation. “On Thursday evening Formula 1, the FIA, and the
teams discussed the position of our sport, and the conclusion is, including the view of all relevant stakeholders, that it is impossible to hold the Russian Grand Prix in the current circumstances.” In response to the tragic events, Hamilton issued a heartfelt message after today’s pre-season test came to an end. “When we see injustice it is important we stand against it,” he wrote on Instagram.
“My heart goes out to all the courageous people of Ukraine who are facing such terrible attacks for simply choosing a better future and I stand with the Russian citizens who oppose this violence and seek peace, often at risk to their own freedom.