Russell: Red and orange teams ‘look very, very competitive’

George Russell

George Russell has suggested Mercedes is not the class leaders after two days of Formula 1 pre-season testing.

Russell recorded 66 laps of running on Thursday, bringing his total across the two days to 668.525km – the sixth most of any driver.

Mercedes holds down the same position among the teams with 1089.275km between Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Spain.

But while the squad has run solidly and reliably, it has not garnered the headlines in the same way Ferrari and McLaren has.

That, in Russell’s eyes, is a fair representation of what the early pecking order suggests.

“We’re seeing some interesting things out there, that’s what testing is for,” he said after his stint on Thursday.

“Some teams are looking pretty fast; a red team and an orange team in particular look very, very competitive.

“So let’s see what tomorrow brings and what we can do between this test and Bahrain.”

“Certainly not ahead, [I’m] pretty sure of that,” he added when asked where Mercedes stacked up.

“They seem to have things well under control and they look very strong, low fuel and high fuel, and with the tyre management.

“Who knows? We all know that we’re on different programmes, but we definitely know from the average of all of the different runs, we’re behind them at the moment.

“Let’s wait and see. The championship is not won in Barcelona in winter testing but it’s certainly been an intriguing two days so far.”

Ferrari leads the pack when it comes to mileage, while Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have both featured at the top end of the timesheets.

Confidence at McLaren is also high, though tempered, with Lando Norris making a tongue in cheek remark on social media bemoaning his pace.

“Productive day, but annoyed I’m P1,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Now you gonna think we fast and waaaaay over hype us. Omegalul”

The opening pre-season test concludes tonight in Spain, with another three-day hit out to follow in Bahrain from March 10.

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