Williams driver George Russell has reflected on his maiden test as a Mercedes Formula 1 driver.
Russell will replace Valtteri Bottas as team-mate of seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton for the 2022 season.
But, before the next season starts, Russell took to the cockpit of the 2019 Mercedes F1 car on the new 18-inch Pirelli tyres that will be used for the 2022 season.
Russell enjoyed the experience but said it was comparatively “strange” to the other times he has driven for Mercedes.
“It’s a strange feeling because I’ve tested with the team numerous times after races, end of season, but here we are again but obviously this is my first time as an official driver for the team,” Russell said.
Of course this is not the first time Russell has been in a Mercedes car. He most notably stepped into the car after Hamilton’s positive COVID-19 test took him out of the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
Russell also seemed to be positive about the new tyres that drivers will be racing on.
“It was a really great day to be back with the guys and learning about these new tyres,” he said.
“It’s always a pleasant experience driving a World Championship-winning car, the 2019 Mercedes, and with these 18-inch Pirellis, which seem to be reacting pretty positively – so it was a nice day.
“It felt pretty nice to drive, to be honest,” he added. “I mean, it’s going to be very different next year as the cars are going to be drastically changed compared to these current cars.
“So there’s not an awful lot you can take away from it but nevertheless, they do react pretty differently to the 13-inch tyres that we’ve raced on previously. Let’s hope that carries through into next year and see how they react with the new regulations.”
The 2021 season is barely over, but excitement is already building for the new year.
Russell and Mercedes, alongside Hamilton, look to be in a strong position going forward and will be hoping to extend their dominance of Formula 1 into the sport’s new era.