Russell explains why FP2 in Bahrain is so much more important than at other races
George Russell will miss FP1 as Roy Nissany will take over his Williams for that session in Bahrain, but Russell said there might actually be “benefits” to missing first practice as he eyes a pivotal FP2 session on Friday evening.
Nissany, 25, took his best Formula 2 finish in the Belgian Formula 2 Feature Race and will make his second FP1 appearance of the season in Russell’s place this weekend – but the Briton said he shouldn't be too badly affected by missing out on first practice.
“FP1 is generally sandy, it’s in the middle of the day; we qualify and race at night,” he explained.
“Arguably there’s some benefits to missing out on FP1 in conditions like this, so I’ll be eager on the sidelines and getting myself hyped up, ready for FP2.”
Russell will therefore be putting all his chips on FP2 – the only practice session to be held in the evening, and at the same time as qualifying and the race – to collect meaningful data.
“The facts are, I think you have to do some testing in FP1 and FP3 but take your results with a pinch of salt,” he said.
“FP2 is really our only proper session, so there’s so much emphasis on that session and if there’s any issues or any problems then you’re definitely on the back foot.”
It’ll be the same case in the next round on the ‘outer loop’ configuration of the Bahrain track, and in the Abu Dhabi season finale - FP2 will again be the only practice session held in the evening.
Russell continued: “So that’s what makes racing in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi so unique: even though we still have three sessions, realistically, it’s only the one [that counts]. So, it’s tricky.
“It’s making sure you’re on the right foot from the off.”
Williams will be hoping to quench their thirst for points in the desert, then, as they arrive in Bahrain at the bottom of the standings – with Germany 2019 being their last point-scoring race thanks to Robert Kubica. Kubica, incidentally, will take over FP1 for Alfa Romeo in Bahrain.