Russell battling drains and illness in Baku

Mark Scott
George Russell believes driving the Williams at 98% may actually unlock more pace.

George Russell believes driving the Williams at 98% may actually unlock more pace.

George Russell is not having the best of times in Baku with drain covers ruining his practice sessions and illness affecting his preparations.

His FW42 clattered over the top of a loose drain cover in Baku during FP1 and wrecked his car. The session ended after just 15 minutes whilst Russell’s day of running was completely over because his car required a new chassis.

Russell luckily avoided injury but felt for the entire team who saw all the hard work spent preparing his car come to nothing.

“It has been a tough day, it’s a shame for the guys to spend yesterday preparing the car to only do a couple of laps,” Russell said in the Baku paddock.

“I was going down the straight and I felt a big bang through the chassis and everything turned off; it’s just unfortunate.

“The plan right now is to go into debrief, listen to Robert’s comments and see what the guys have planned for tomorrow.

“Overall, today has been a bit of a frustration, but we must make the most of the situation and I will remain positive for the weekend ahead.”

Just to make things more difficult, Russell is still trying to get over an illness he thought he had overcome in time for race weekend.

“I’m feeling better, definitely not 100 per cent, I’ve been quite up and down really,” he added.

“I had another day of rest, I’ll be in better shape tomorrow.

“I haven’t trained at all since China. I’ve just been sort of in my bed doing nothing really, I was improving, then woke up yesterday morning and felt woeful again.”

Team-mate Robert Kubica, meanwhile, was able to rack up 27 laps in FP2, but was five seconds off the pace set by Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.

The Pole admitted he is lacking confidence at a track he has not raced on previously.

Kubica said: “It was not an ideal day losing FP1, I think everybody would have liked more track time, especially on a street circuit and for me this isn’t one I’ve raced on before.

“The track is very tricky. I spent time discovering it in FP2 but I don’t have much confidence, we are struggling overall with the grip and we cannot push the car as the tyres are not able to remain in the operating window.

“Additional time was lost during FP2 due to the red flags and it’s a shame we couldn’t drive both cars on the circuit.”

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