Russell hails 'spectacular' Portimao but questions choice of Turn 1

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George Russell can't wait to return to "spectacular" Portimao for this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix.

Formula 1 will race in Portugal for the first time since 1996 but not at its historical home of Estoril, instead, the venue on the Algarve is the second brand new circuit to be included in the revised 2020 schedule.

F1's only past visit to Portimao was for a test in January 2009, while Russell has driven there in a private test for Mercedes and he offered this insight into the rollercoaster track.

“I’m really excited. It’s a spectacular circuit, very undulating, a lot of blind corners, which is great, and adds a lot of character,” he told Autosport.

“Obviously I need to wait and see once I’ve driven it in a current car, and how it will all pan out."

The Williams driver's only reservation though is the choice of layout made at Turn 1, with F1 opted for the medium-speed right-hander over the hairpin/chicane sequence.

“We may have some track limit issues, which I hope can be rectified before we even get there, at Turn 1," Russell noted.

“I know that was an issue in F3. We had a race weekend in F3 in 2015, and on the Thursday we had a test day, which was on the quick Turn 1, which is what we’ll be doing for the F1 weekend.

“But everybody was just doing track limits, so they actually adopted doing a sort of a hairpin loop, which was very nice.

“So I’m actually surprised we haven’t done that loop because for racing it would be better having a slower speed corner at the end of a long straight.

“But nevertheless, I’m excited to go there and intrigued for the challenge that we face and the teams face.”

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Ahead of this weekend's race, the circuit has undergone some changes to meet the Grade 1 standard while concerns over bumps have also been addressed with the track completely resurfaced.

“With regard to Portimão, from all the works and all the images that I have seen and reports I have received, everything is progressing extremely well on a number of areas, not just the resurfacing but with the number of barrier upgrades and safety requirements and so forth," said FIA race director Michael Masi.

“Regarding track limits, Turn 1 won’t be the only location that we’ve got a possibility there. However, we have put some elements in place to try and manage those as best we can for the event.”