George Russell said Mercedes firing up the new W13 gave him “goosebumps” as he prepared for his first run as a Mercedes Formula 1 race driver.Lewis Hamilton getting behind the wheel of the new W13.
The shakedown was held in strong winds as the United Kingdom is currently enduring Storm Eunice, which has led the UK’s Meteorological Office to issue severe weather warnings to parts of southern England.
Russell has tested a Mercedes F1 car every year since joining the Mercedes junior driver programme in 2017. However, Russell described the special feeling of driving the team’s new W13 as a factory race driver for the very first time.
“This morning it gave me goosebumps when the car was fired up for the first time,” Russell said. “I’ve driven so many laps in the simulator, I’ve seen so many drawings of it, I’ve had so many meetings about it, but there’s nothing like going to a race track.”
Despite the high winds, the conditions were safe enough for Russell and team mate Hamilton to complete an initial run with the car to test basic systems and that the drivers were comfortable in the car.
“It almost brings me back to my roots – a cold, wet, windy day at Silverstone, but here with the Mercedes Formula 1 team.” Russell explained.
“I think the facts are if you take the exact same car when there’s no wind and then you put it in 100kph winds – I think it was – today, it’s going to feel very difficult to drive. It certainly wasn’t easy out there with the conditions, but it was very much in line with what we saw in the simulator.
“We’re going back and correlating this afternoon. It’s going to be a constant learning process. I think we’re all going to take today with a pinch of salt and just get through the programme, make sure the car runs okay, make sure the drivers are comfortable and make sure we’re in the best possible ahead of Barcelona.”
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