Formula 1
Formula 1
28 Mar
Event finished
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
FP1 in
3 days
R
Portuguese GP
02 May
FP1 in
17 days
09 May
Next event in
22 days
23 May
Race in
40 days
R
Azerbaijan GP
06 Jun
Race in
54 days
13 Jun
Race in
61 days
27 Jun
Race in
75 days
04 Jul
Next event in
78 days
18 Jul
Race in
96 days
R
Hungarian GP
01 Aug
Race in
110 days
29 Aug
Race in
138 days
05 Sep
Race in
145 days
26 Sep
Race in
166 days
R
Singapore GP
03 Oct
Next event in
169 days
10 Oct
Race in
179 days
R
United States GP
24 Oct
Race in
194 days
31 Oct
Race in
201 days
R
Australian GP
21 Nov
Race in
221 days
R
Abu Dhabi GP
12 Dec
Race in
243 days

Mercedes impressed by how Russell handled pressure

Mercedes head of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has cited the way George Russell handled pressure as one of the outstanding aspects of the team newcomer's Bahrain GP weekend.

Mercedes impressed by how Russell handled pressure

Russell only had Wednesday and Thursday to prepare before driving Lewis Hamilton's car in Friday practice on Sakhir's outer circuit.

He topped both sessions, qualified second to team mate Valtteri Bottas, and then lost victory in the race after a pitstop mix-up and subsequent puncture.

Shovlin said that the team knew that Russell would be fast, but was impressed by the way he attacked when a high profile mistake would have been costly.

"Probably the thing that was least surprising was his speed in qualifying," said Shovlin. "Because if you look at what he'd been doing in the Williams, clearly he knows how to drive a car quickly. And he knows how to get the most out of it.

"So that was not a complete shock to me, it was kind of what we were hoping to see, and what we were pleased that we did see.

"How he handled the pressure, that's the harder thing to really predict, how he's going to get on. But that was very impressive, actually, he really attacked the session.

"The risk – if this is one opportunity to show what you can do in a fast car – is it's so easy to get it wrong. And it's so easy to create lasting impressions.

Read Also:

"But clearly, he wasn't thinking about that for a second. He really attacked the session. He was confident, he was disciplined. He was methodical in how he approached each run.

"At times, we were under pressure with both drivers in the early part of it. And he stayed calm, and that was nice to see. He's clearly a very good racing driver."

Shovlin stressed that the team had tried hard to help Russell adjust to his new environment.

"We were just trying to feed the information to him in a way that wasn't going to overwhelm him," he said.

"We weren't telling him things on Thursday night that he didn't need to know until Sunday morning. So we tried to have a sort of structured approach, as it's quite a difficult thing for the drivers to jump from one team to another, one car to another.

"And he obviously did a good job, and in some ways our car will be easier than the Williams that he normally drives because it's quite a nice handling car, there aren't any major vices, it's got good grip. So in some ways that direction is easier.

"But the fact is the performance envelope of our car is much bigger. And you can brake later, you can get on the throttle sooner, you can be more aggressive with it, and the car will look after you and, and not catch you out as much as some others, and you can carry much more speed into corners. And it's just sort of understanding that.

"And it takes more than one race to really build up a sort of full appreciation of what the car can do. One of the things that he was sort of chipping away at was just understanding how late you can actually brake for Turn 1, and how much speed you can carry into Turn 7 and 8.

"He's done a good job, he's approached that methodically. And importantly, he's done it without going over the limit. Because you go over the limit, and then you can end up with some significant consequences."

Shovlin conceded that fitting Russell into Hamilton's W11 hadn't been easy.

"It was difficult. And it's been made difficult by the fact that we've not had such a tall driver for a very, very long time.

"And every year, as you're looking for what can you squeeze, something here and there, and work on the packaging, and put a bit more performance on the thing, it becomes a less and less comfortable environment for a guy who's quite a bit over six foot tall.

"It's not just physically things being in the way, and not being able to have your normal seating position. Also it's painful, because we can't quite get enough space for him. So he's being pinched, and the seat is not quite perfect.

"And so it's not just that you're cramped, it actually hurts to drive. He was determined to fit. And he was determined to be able to drive it. But it won't be a perfect environment for him."

shares
comments

Related video

The F1 sanity that left Russell with some Sakhir solace

Previous article

The F1 sanity that left Russell with some Sakhir solace

Next article

Racing Point didn't have enough spares after Bahrain clashes

Racing Point didn't have enough spares after Bahrain clashes
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers George Russell
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Prime

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. Ben Anderson looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Prime

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says Nigel Roebuck.

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Prime

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now? Prime

Is Formula 1 as good as it has ever been now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Prime

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Prime

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle.

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb Prime

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his teammate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen's emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber teammate's own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here's how Nick Heidfeld's career was chilled by the Iceman.

Formula 1
Apr 3, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Prime

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021