Williams Racing driver George Russell believes that Mercedes has a wind sensitivity issue that affected Williams's opening round of the Formula 1 season in Bahrain.
Although Mercedes won the opening round in Bahrain, the team was beaten in every timed session by Red Bull's Max Verstappen. The Dutchman took pole position for the first time since Abu Dhabi in 2020 as Mercedes's W11 continued to look like a challenge to drive after a difficult pre-season test.
Williams and Russell had a testing weekend with fourteenth at the checkered flag as the Brit struggled with the gusty conditions.
In a post-race interview, Russell believes that Mercedes will struggle more than usual in some races because of this particular issue.
“It’s what we’ve got; it’s what a lot of teams have got. Time will tell, but I believe that potentially Mercedes are in the same boat; they probably struggled this weekend more than you’ll see them struggle at races in the near future. Red Bull, and the likes of Alfa Romeo, were more competitive relative to the field than we’ll see in races to come,'' said Russell according to Motorsport.com.
“There were very windy conditions today. 50 km/h winds, it’s very open, very exposed. And when you’re driving around at 300 km/h, 50 km/h wind makes a difference. You can imagine at 50 km/h; it’s with like gusts of 60, 70 km/h.”
Despite coming away from Bahrain with nothing, Russell is more confident in Williams's chances at the next round held in Imola.
“It’s very different to Bahrain, so you’ve got two ends of the spectrum, Bahrain, you’ve got a lot of slow-speed corners, very exposed, generally very windy. Imola is high-speed corners, the angle of those corners are less. There are more 90 degree corners as opposed to 180-degree corners."
“It is very enclosed with all the trees and the buildings around. So we’re going to extremes, really. I’m not necessarily saying Imola is in the top end, but it’s probably in the top half of tracks for Williams, let’s say.”