Russell Optimistic About Mercedes W15

russel mercedes w15 bahrain test

George Russell expressed positivity after driving the Mercedes W15, focusing on the car’s improvements rather than the time gap to Max Verstappen. Despite being 2.7 seconds slower than Verstappen’s best time, Russell highlighted the car’s better driveability and the importance of data collection over outright speed during the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

Between the lines

  • Russell completed a hefty 122 laps in the W15, emphasizing the car’s improved handling, especially the rear end.
  • Mercedes’ 2024 focus is on creating a solid foundation rather than immediate performance, as evidenced by Russell’s 12th place time.
  • While acknowledging the gap to Verstappen, Russell remains focused on the car’s learning curve and potential.
  • Testing strategies varied, with Russell and Verstappen completing full days, while other teams split sessions between drivers.

Go deeper
George Russell’s first day behind the wheel of the Mercedes W15 at Bahrain’s pre-season testing was one of cautious optimism. Mercedes has been hard at work refining the W15 to be less of a beast to handle than its predecessor, and Russell’s initial impressions suggest they’re on the right track. With a focus on gathering data and understanding the car’s behavior, Russell and Mercedes are playing the long game, aiming for consistent improvement over headline-grabbing lap times.

The 2024 season brings with it the hope of redemption for Mercedes, after a challenging year that saw them often outpaced by their rivals. Russell’s comments reflect a team that is more interested in evolution than revolution, with an emphasis on building a reliable and predictable platform from which to extract performance as the season progresses.

Russell’s approach to testing is indicative of a mature perspective on development. While the allure of topping the time sheets is undeniable, the British driver knows that the true measure of progress will come from how the car performs across a race weekend, not just in the flash of a single fast lap.

As other teams opted to split their driving duties, Mercedes’ decision to let Russell run the full day underscores their commitment to providing their drivers with extensive seat time to truly dial in the car’s setup. With Lewis Hamilton set to take over on day two, the team will benefit from the insights of both their experienced drivers.

In conclusion, while the time sheets may not have told a story of dominance for Mercedes and Russell, the underlying narrative is one of steady progress and strategic focus. The true test will come when the cars line up on the grid for the first race of the season, but for now, Mercedes can take solace in the positive steps they’ve taken with the W15.