George Russell made a strong start to the first Singapore Grand Prix since 2019, despite appearing to be unhappy with the behaviour of the car.
The Brit ended the opening day in third place, just over three-tenths behind the day’s pacesetter Carlos Sainz.
Mercedes appear much stronger this weekend at the Marina Bay Circuit than they did at the recent Italian Grand Prix, with Sir Lewis Hamilton having topped FP1, the first time he’s topped a session all season.
Russell had several lockups across the opening day and did well not to hit the wall at what was formerly known as the Singapore sling chicane.
The 24-year-old narrowly missed the wall after slamming onto the breaks, where he complained about the rear of his car.
Mercedes clearly played around with their ride height on the opening day, especially in FP2.
Russell’s W13 was seen bouncing considerably more at the start of FP2, with a number of sparks giving away just how low the Silver Arrows were attempting to run the cars.
A quicker lap-time was certainly in the locker for Russell, as the Brit locked-up the front right tyre at Turn 13 on his fastest lap of the day.
Overall, though, it was a strong day for Russell and Mercedes as they continue their search for a first win of 2022.
Ahead of the weekend, Russell was involved in a comical exchange with outgoing McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo in the media pen.
Whilst being interviewed by the official F1 website, Russell was ‘bombed’ by Ricciardo, who caught the Briton completely off-guard, and safely ruined the rest of the interview!
“This guy always rocks up out of nowhere,” joked Russell as Ricciardo interrupted his interview.
“I’m a bit lost now where we were,” said Russell.
“We were talking about the direction of the car,” said the interviewer.
“I think err… everybody understands, whenever he’s within reach he’s just a big orange distraction,” laughed the clearly distracted Mercedes driver.
“You do yours and I’ll do mine, erm…” added Russell before joking with Ricciardo again.
“Shall we just wrap it up,” said the interviewer, who clearly got the message that with Ricciardo present, no more questions would be answered.
It’s safe to say that Ricciardo might not be as happy following the opening day, after ending Friday in a disappointing P18.
The Australian driver was 2.8 seconds behind Sainz at the close of the first day’s running, and 1.4 seconds behind team-mate Lando Norris.
Ricciardo will be desperately hoping for a considerably better Saturday, where he’ll be aiming to make it to at least Q2 in qualifying.