US News F1-Friday Bahrain: George Russell "still two tenths away from Bottas"

22:40  04 december  2020
22:40  04 december  2020 Source:   motorsport-total.com

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Meanwhile, his temporary Mercedes team mate George Russell impressed by topping both Friday practice sessions for the Sakhir Grand Prix on his Valtteri Bottas was left to rue a "waste" of an FP 1 session and a frustrating FP 2 that saw his best lap time – that would have been good enough for first

Although Russell ’s promotion to Mercedes for this weekend gives F 1 fans a fascinating chance to see how the 22-year-old fares against Bottas , Wolff moved to With George Russell replacing Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the Sakhir Grand Prix, many Russell looked quick from the off on Friday .

George Russell fuhr in beiden Freien Trainings am Freitag Bestzeit © Motorsport Images George Russell set the fastest time in both free practice sessions on Friday.

George Russell made the best time in both Friday practice sessions for the Sachir Grand Prix in Bahrain ( Formula 1 2020 live in the ticker! ) secured the best time. The substitute for Lewis Hamilton (positive corona test) convinced on his first day of training in the Mercedes and set a best time of 58,262 seconds on the so-called "Outer Circuit" in the second free practice under floodlights.

Toto Wolff had already warned of a premature Russell euphoria after Russell's first best time: "We all have to slow down now, because it was a first session, and that on a new and shortened route." Russell did "a solid job," says the Mercedes team boss.

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George Russell impressively set the pace on his practice debut for Mercedes standing in for Lewis Hamilton in Friday 's opening session on F 1 's first George Russell a tenth faster than Red Bull's Max Verstappen in first practice as Mercedes driver; Valtteri Bottas fourth and three tenths slower

Bottas , who topped both Friday practice sessions, set a fastest lap of 1 m16.654s with Hamilton However, he managed to finish 0.158s off Bottas and Alex Albon completed a successful session for Red Lando Norris put his McLaren ninth, and was the last driver under a second away from Bottas .

In the second practice , Russell (54,713 seconds) was even slower than in the first (54,546 seconds), but still took the lead. Team mate Valtteri Bottas finished eleventh in FT2, 0.608 seconds behind. But the numbers only tell half the story.

Because Bottas' fastest time on the soft tire was canceled due to a violation of the track limits in Turn 8. With 54,506 seconds he would otherwise have been wafer-thinly faster than Russell in FT1. "Realistically, George is still two tenths away from Bottas," analyzes 'Sky' expert Anthony Davidson.

Russell: Not a single fastest time in the sector.

Russell set the fastest time in the FT2 without setting a best time in any of the three sectors. In the first sector he was 0.095 seconds, in the second 0.034 and in the third 0.137 seconds on the reference values ​​of Bottas. "You shouldn't write off Valtteri yet," warns 'Sky' expert Paul di Resta.

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How George Russell finally landed his dream audition in the fastest car in the world after a 2 am call On Thursday, here in sun-toasted Bahrain , Russell was acclimatising to his elevated status, having For though Bottas is pretty quick, he is no match for Hamilton — who has waltzed to his seventh title

George Russell made the most of his day in a Mercedes to go fastest on Wednesday in Bahrain , as Mick Schumacher got behind The Mexican’s Racing Point team spent the two days trying to extract more performance from a significant upgrade package introduced in Australia, with Team Principal

Above all, you have to distinguish between qualifying and race paces. Even Russell himself has to admit: "The second practice session wasn't good for me. I struggled with a lot of fuel on board, but that's the most important thing in terms of the race."

In the Friday result , Russell was 0.176 seconds ahead of Max Verstappen and 0.265 seconds ahead of Alexander Albon. The two Red Bull drivers complained in unison about understeer (Verstappen louder, Albon a little quieter) - but team boss Christian Horner is not dissatisfied with the start of the Bahrain 2 weekend.

"On one lap, Mercedes looks a little better than us, and on the long run we look better than them," he sums up the first day. "Somehow we didn't have a clean lap on the short runs. But the long runs were very encouraging from both drivers." Wolff agrees: "That wasn't good enough for Verstappen and Albon."

Sergio Perez (Racing Point / + 0.320) was fourth, followed by Bottas (0.322) on P5. The Finn thinks that Russell gives "good feedback" and seems to be "fast", but puts the two best times into perspective: "I had a lap that was reasonably okay, but it was canceled. Not my best day. And drove in FT1 I over the curbs in Turn 8. The underbody broke. "

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George Russell . BAHRAIN : Valtteri Bottas ’s Sakhir circuit guide. Hot on the heels of his win in Australia, Mercedes's Valtteri Bottas takes us on a flying lap of the Bahrain International Circuit.

Formula 1 rolex sakhir grand prix 2020 - practice 2 . 03 06 Dec 2020 Bahrain International Circuit – Outer Track, Sakhir.

Vettel: As soon as Binotto is there, it goes downhill ...

Esteban Ocon (Renault) was only sixth in the Friday result, 0.394 seconds behind, despite an absolute FT2 best time in the first sector. Before Daniil Kwjat in the AlphaTauri, who together with Pierre Gasly (10./+0.587) finished in the FT1 P5 / 6 and was noticeably fast in the long run simulations.

On the other hand, Sebastian Vettel's Friday was less pleasant. As soon as Mattia Binotto is back on site, one might think for fun, when the Germans go back into reverse gear. At the end of Friday he was in twelfth position, 0.735 seconds behind. However, he owed this to his FT1 time.

In FT2, Vettel was "caught" three times while turning. After the third, he radioed in exasperation: "I can't even do a clean lap. The stern keeps going away." And things didn't go any better with his team-mate Charles Leclerc either. He even finished last in the FT2 because he had to give up early due to a defect. The drive shaft is suspected.

McLaren finished in P11 (Carlos Sainz) and P18 (Lando Norris). Neither of them got through the three hours without any problems. At Sainz there was a lack of gearbox synchronization, at Norris the Renault power unit went on strike. "Not our best Friday in the last year and a half," sighs team boss Andreas Seidl.

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But regardless of the technical defects, he also sees a need to catch up: "We're not satisfied yet. Compared to the first training session, we've made a good step in balance. But we're not where we want to be. We have homework to do "says Seidl.

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There was a "freak accident" towards the end when Gasly suddenly complained of pain in his left hand. A car driving in front of him had thrown up pebbles that must have hit him unhappy. A fate that also overtook Romain Grosjean at the Nürburgring.

Speaking of Grosjean: His substitute Pietro Fittipaldi did not do any great stupid things, but he also did not attract attention with his outstanding speed. At the end of the day he was 19th, 1.6 seconds behind the top - and 0.150 seconds ahead of Jack Aitken, who will drive Russell's Williams this weekend.

Haas team boss Günther Steiner knows what he can expect from Fittipaldi and what not: "The requirement was to simply stay on the track and learn. He has not been in a Formula 1 car for a year now." That is "always difficult", says the South Tyrolean and adds: "We have to give him a little time."

"He braked on the soft tire, which ruined the tire. Then you can't get out because you can't use the tires from the first half of the session. So it's a shame that he didn't do more laps , but everything's okay. It's just a learning phase. He has to go through that, we have to go through it. "

The route, which has been shortened compared to last week, is received differently by the drivers. Verstappen is not really a fan: "Not that exciting, to be honest. You hear the radio all the time: 'Watch out, traffic here, and so on.' Then you have to brake and the tires cool down. Not great. But it is what it is, "he criticizes.

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