Williams drivers 'better off' not pushing the limit of unpredictable car

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George Russell claims he and Robert Kubica are currently getting more performance by not pushing their Williams car.

The Grove-based outfit is facing a second year stuck at the back of the grid because of a flawed design which was also late in hitting the track pre-season.

In qualifying, the gap between Williams and the rest remains over a second and part of the problem is the drivers not knowing where the limit of the car actually is.

“There’s definitely room to improve from my side. Certainly, I haven’t managed to optimise qualifying in the last two races," he said assessing his own performance to Motorsport.com.

“I think I still need to understand and respect the limitations of the car. Sometimes you would go quicker driving at 98% than at 100%.

“It’s a learning process to understand the car and, unfortunately, we can’t just go out and get the maximum from it because we’re not 100% sure what the car is going to do from corner to corner.”

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Rather than upgrades, the Briton thinks just finding the balance with the FW42 will unlock a lot of pace but Russell was able to gain the rare chance to compare his Williams to the current Mercedes at the test in Bahrain.

"It was really helpful to get that opportunity again because I've learned so much and I know that's the goal we want to achieve," he said.

"Sure, Mercedes has more downforce than us, that's undeniable, but that's not the only difference.

“They have some things we do not have, and we would probably be faster with the current downforce level [if we did have those things].

“But it was very interesting for me because I've learned a lot that I think will help us move Williams forward."

This weekend's race in Baku may also present the chance to capitalise on any chaos that may ensue on the streets circuit and Russell is ready to pounce.

“I’m really looking forward to Baku because I had a great weekend there last year in Formula 2," he recalled.

“We have some small changes coming and hopefully, if they work as expected, it could be positive – but we’re not 100% sure.

“I’m hoping because we have some very poor characteristics that, if we improve that, the lap time gains will be larger. But at the moment there’s nothing really suggesting that will be the case.”