George Russell believes Mercedes are currently behind Ferrari and McLaren, as the Formula 1 World Champions’ second testing day was far from ideal.
A bold statement from the 24-year-old Briton, after only the second day of running at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where Mercedes faced some data logging issues that curtailed Lewis Hamilton’s morning running, as the team struggled with balance, with the seven-time World Champion only dead last in the timing screens (1:22.562), with only 40 laps on the board.
Mercedes said in a statement: “Lewis was in the cockpit for the morning session today in Barcelona, clocking up 40 laps of set-up learning before his session was curtailed by a sensor issue.
“George got to work in the afternoon, completing a number of test procedures and continuing to further our understanding of the harder tyre compounds.”
The team’s Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin added: “We had a difficult morning with Lewis, experiencing a data logging issue that delayed our start and in general, we were struggling a bit more with the balance.
“Some of that may have been setup items that we were trying and some of it the harder tyres that we were running today,” Shovlin explained.
“We managed to get a few runs completed then unfortunately had a sensor issue that prevented us doing further performance work so we stopped early for lunch in order to fix it.
Russell has a better testing session
“George had a more productive session in the afternoon and we got through some useful setup scans and completed some of our tyre programme,” the engineering director went on. “We’ve still got plenty of issues to work on from a performance point of view but we are continuing to learn with every run which in turn will make us faster.
“We’ve got a busy day planned for tomorrow, plenty more setup work and a first look at some of the softer rubber compounds for this year,” Shovlin revealed.
Afterwards racking up 66 laps in the afternoon session finishing fourth fastest overall, Russell spoke how Mercedes compared to Ferrari and McLaren.
“Some teams, a red team and an orange team in particular, look very, very competitive,” he said to Sky F1.
“[Mercedes are] certainly not ahead, pretty sure of that,” Russell went on. “We all know that we are on different programmes but we definitely know from the average of all the different runs, we’re behind them at the moment. So let’s wait and see.
“The championship’s not won in Barcelona pre-season testing, but it’s certainly been an intriguing two days for now,” Russell insisted.