George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

Russell convinced Bottas was quicker than him in practice despite heading session

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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George Russell says Valtteri Bottas was clearly quicker than him in practice despite leading the second session at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The two are under close scrutiny as Russell has stepped up from tail-enders Williams as a substitute for Lewis Hamilton this weekend.

While Russell officially headed the second practice session with a time of 54.713 seconds, Bottas lapped more than two tenths of a second quicker. However that time was deleted as he strayed beyond track limits at turn eight.

“Just because I was quickest today it doesn’t mean that’s where I’m going to be tomorrow,” Russell insisted.

“Verstappen was incredibly quick in the long runs. Valtteri was quickest in second practice but he got his lap deleted. He probably only gained half a tenth in all honesty. So I’m probably a good tenth and a half behind Valtteri in the low-fuel. But we’ll see, we’re getting better.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Bottas had his best lap time deleted
Second practice was “not a great session for me”, said Russell. “I struggled, especially in the high fuel and ultimately that’s going to be key on Sunday.”

Russell is around nine centimetres taller than Hamilton and is wearing a size smaller boot then usual in order to fit in his car. He said he still has work to do to fit better in Hamilton’s cockipt.

“I’ve still got a lot to do to get comfortable in the car, get comfortable with the set-up and make some improvements, because I think tomorrow’s going to be a different story.”

Mercedes confirmed on Wednesday Russell would drive for them weekend. He said he’s been on a steep learning curve since then.

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“There’s so much to take in, to learn. Lap after lap I’m just learning more and more. I’m doing my absolute best to be as prepared as possible.

“But jumping in the car with a day and a half, two days notice, it’s tricky. I’m doing my best. It was a good first day but there’s definitely more to be done.”

“I’m working with the best in the business and I’m learning so much every single lap I’m in the car,” he added. “[But] I do think the lap times are a little bit deceiving at the moment and aren’t a true representation of the pace.”

Formula 1 is racing on Bahrain’s Outer circuit for the first time this weekend. With lap times already under 55 seconds and the track very congested when full of cars, Russell predicted a hectic qualifying session and race.

“It’s different, tricky, not an easy track to say the least,” he said. “It’s going to be very tight in quali. In the race It’s going to be carnage. The next two days are going to be important.”

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Russell convinced Bottas was quicker than him in practice despite heading session”

  1. George is absolutely convinced that Bottas is quicker than him.

    In other unrelated news, Toto is absolutely convinced that Red Bull are quicker than them.

    1. Hey hey. Don’t be hard on the young lad. He is just doing the job told to him i.e. subbing for Hamilton both inside and outside the car!! Hence, he goes quickest on the race track and makes such statements outside the car.

      “Man, the Red Bulls are so quick”. “I am pushing every lap” :)

  2. So the pedal box is too small for George’s feet? Sounds like it could be a very uncomfortable race.

  3. AWS stats agree, George! 2 tenths!

    Not that any of us believe any of it…

  4. A gentleman to the end… Until he brings out the BFG and blasts Bottas back to Williams!

    1. Coventry Climax
      5th December 2020, 11:29

      BF Goodrich?
      Big Fat Girlfriend?
      Best Fishing Gear?
      British Forces in Germany?
      Best F~~~ Guitar?
      Big Ferociuos Gun?

  5. Let the sandbagging start!

  6. While I’d give the ‘Bottas is faster’ a proviso ‘if he can keep it clean and inside those lines’, I think the more interesting will be whether Russell can improve his high-fuel running before the race, because that’s where we have seen Hamilton edge most others, and certainly Bottas out, in tyre and fuel management.

    I wonder whether it’s also something you see with Russell already in the Williams, given his great quali, but no points, record or whether it is simply something that in the Williams he doesn’t have the ability to learn as well because that car isn’t giving him any tool to do much better.

    1. Being a bit picky here but your comment isnt entirely correct IMO:
      “…in that William’s he doesn’t have the “ability” to learn…”
      George has bucket loads of ability and is clearly learning alot at Williams. I think what you maybe mean to say is “…he doesn’t have the POSSIBILITY to learn…” ?

  7. Can anybody explain why he’s having to squeeze into a pair of boots that are a size too small for him Sponsorship requirements? Seems a bit mean to make him suffer and not let him use the pair he’s left in the Williams garage!

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