Russell reflects on a 'very positive' start for Williams at F1 testing

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George Russell had a "very positive" first impression of the new Williams as Formula 1 winter testing began.

The Briton completed 73 laps in the morning in Barcelona, and after handing off to new teammate Nicholas Latifi for the afternoon, offered an assessment on the FW43.

“It’s feeling good and it’s definitely an improvement on last year,” Russell said.

“It’s difficult to get a read so far but from within it feels nice to drive. Obviously lap times are the important thing and we’ll only know by the end of next week how that is.

“But it’s definitely faster than it was this time last time because this time last year the car was in bits. That’s one bonus!”

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After missing the first two and a half days of running in testing last year, Williams took the honour of being the first car on track to begin 2020.

And while that may not mean much in reality, for Russell it was an important little achievement. 

“We had an intense morning planned and to get everything in it was important to get out from the beginning,” he explained.

“Also off the back of last year, it was psychologically important for all of us and for everybody who has worked day and night back at the factory to see their car go out first.

“It was incredibly tough times for the people back at Grove last year, when they are working absolutely flat out to try and make things ready and work in double time.

"So it was a relief for all of us and now we can get cracking with our test program."

And that they would do with Russell ending his stint with the sixth-best time of the morning, matching his best time from the entirety of testing last year in the process.

“Last year was far from ideal and the team have done a really great job to achieve that and the build quality of the car is so much better standard compared to last year,” he added.

“Things fit properly and the car looks better from a design perspective, so I think overall it’s been a very positive morning.

“Nevertheless going into next week and Melbourne, it all depends on lap times and we just need to focus on our programme and get the most out of these two weeks. 

“Everyone is pleased to be in this position because everybody was a bit lost year because they had no work to do with no car here. They are excited for the new season."