RACE DEBRIEF

    The Williams total of 119 laps was encouraging after the team’s first-test woes, and George Russell says there is plenty more to come in terms of performance too.

    Russell was ninth fastest overall on the opening day of the second pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, posting a 1m 19.662s on Tuesday morning. Having used the softest tyre compound - the C5 - for his best lap, the British rookie insists the lack of running last week means there’s more lap time to be found.

    “It certainly hasn’t made up for last week as everybody else at this stage are fine tuning the balance whereas we’re needing to understand the car, but I feel we’re at a good spot,” Russell said. “The car isn’t in the perfect window right now but I feel like it’s definitely got the potential and we’ve still got three days ahead of us to do that.

    “It was really nice to finally push quite hard, we had some very good runs on the C3 and the C1 tyre. We have some work to do on the C4 and the C5 but I think it’s only normal. We’ve only run that set of tyres once and we got a good understanding of the issues. I’m feeling quite positive.

    “On the softer side, we’ve only run one set on the C4 and one set on the C5 and the balance was not correct for us. Everybody at this stage is fine-tuning the car, whereas we’re still understanding the limitations and what the different compounds do, so there was no reason to worry that we didn’t find the lap time we should have done, because that should come.”

    2019 Barcelona February testing II
    CIRCUIT DE BARCELONA-CATALUNYA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 26: George Russell, Williams FW42 during the Barcelona February testing II at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 26, 2019 in Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain. (Photo by Jerry Andre)

    Given the struggles Williams faced during the opening week of testing - completing just 88 laps in total after missing the first two days of testing - Russell says the atmosphere has been boosted by a day of strong running.

    “After the last couple of weeks it’s a huge relief to get a day like today in, because we’ve learned so much about the car in the lower fuel and the higher fuel. It gives us such a good indication moving forward into the next few days, and also for the guys back at the factory who are already designing the upgrades.

    “I think everybody’s happy with today’s performance, not in terms of lap times but no issues. Everybody’s been working so hard, you’ve got to remember we’re all human, everybody’s pretty knackered as they’ve been working 24/7 over the last two weeks to get us ready. Everybody’s done a great job and long may it continue.”