Williams enjoying 'calmer' atmosphere after being first out for F1 testing

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After the chaos of 2019, Williams is enjoying a much calmer atmosphere after a solid start to Formula 1 testing.

Last year it took the British team two and a half days to simply have a car that could go out on track, today George Russell was parked at the end of the pit-lane at 8:59am on Day 1, honouring a pledge made by deputy boss Claire Williams.

“It was brilliant to see it go out first this morning," she told Sky Sports.

“We wanted to make a real point after last year’s dramas that we were here and ready to go and we just wanted to get today done and under our belts.

“It’s going well so far, it’s good.”

And with the situation much more normal compared to last year, the difference in the garage is palpable.

“It’s an awful lot calmer,” admitted Williams.

“Coming into the garage last night, there was hardly anyone here as everything was ready to go and last year there were 20 people trying to get the car ready and it just wasn’t.

“It’s a whole lot different. We’ve got a great team of fighters here and the very fact that we’ve learnt our lessons, it certainly takes the pressure off guys here."

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The positive signs were certainly all there at the end of the day too, with 136 laps and George Russell matching his best time from the whole of winter testing last year.

“Progress [is the target],” she added. “We have to make progress.

“This has always been a journey getting Williams back to where we want it. We’ve not set clear targets, it’s so difficult to do that when you don’t know where the competition is.

“We’ve just got to keep driving the road of positivity and driving performance. We need to tick everything off our to-do list so we’re in the best possible place for Melbourne to show the world that Williams is here to stay and we’re still fighting.”

After Russell offered a positive response following his morning run, his teammate and F1's only rookie this season, Nicholas Latifi, was equally pleased.

Overall, I think it was quite a good day," said the Canadian.

“I was only driving in the afternoon so just watching George go around in the morning and just following along on the radio and seeing what I can learn, what I can pick up ahead of driving.

"Shakedown days are not representative of the car but for me, driving wise I think it was very positive. I can feel for sure comparing to last year, the car has made a step forward in some areas which is great to see.

"It’s the only first day of testing so, for sure, still some room for me to get more up to speed, more comfortable with the car. Testing how the car reacts in different situations. In general, there’s a little bit more confidence, overall more grip so that's really the basics.”

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