George Russell set the fastest lap time in Wednesday’s Bahrain test, driving the Mercedes W10 for the day and not the Williams.
Although racing for Williams, Russell remains a member of Mercedes’ junior driver programme.
As such the team called on the reigning Formula 2 champion to test the W10 on Wednesday, using up one of their young driver days.
Enjoying his laps in the W10, Russell put in a late run with a 1:29.029 to top the day’s timesheet.
To put that into perspective, it was 2.7 seconds faster than his qualifying lap in the Williams for the Bahrain GP.
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) April 3, 2019
As the sun shone down on the Bahrain International Circuit, the teams were eager to make up for the track time lost on Tuesday when the rain fell.
Carlos Sainz fired the opening salvo but that was quickly beaten by Sebastian Vettel, a 1:30.984.
The Ferrari driver upped his pace to a 1:29.435 before shaving a further 0.012s.
Vettel wasn’t done and continued to lower the benchmark time, finishing with a 1:29.319 at lunch.
With many of the drivers switching to race simulations in the afternoon, Vettel held onto P1 for several hours.
But, with 90 minutes left of play remaining for the day, Sergio Perez laid down a 1:29.095 to edge him.
While it looked as if that would be the day’s P1, a late run from Russell in the Mercedes saw the Brit shave 0.07s off the P1 time to finish quickest of all.
Perez was second but it was nonetheless a good showing from Racing Point especially as the Mexican racer concluded the Bahrain GP weekend saying the RP19 was nowhere near what the team wanted.
Vettel had to settle for third place, 0.223s off the pace, while Carlos Sainz – stepping into the regular McLaren having spent most of his day in the other car conducting tyre tests for Pirelli – was fourth.
Daniil Kvyat was fifth quickest ahead of Mick Schumacher. The German was in action for Alfa Romeo on Wednesday, covering 70 laps with a best time of 1:29.998.
1. George Russell Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 1m 29.029s 101 laps
2. Sergio Perez SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 1m 29.095s 61 laps
3. Sebastian Vettel Scuderia Ferrari 1m 29.319s 103 laps
4. Carlos Sainz McLaren F1 Team 1m 29.795s 21 laps
5. Daniil Kvyat Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 1m 29.911s 111 laps
6. Mick Schumacher Alfa Romeo Racing 1m 29.998s 70 laps
7. Alexander Albon Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda 1m 30.037s 143 laps
8. Lance Stroll SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team 1m 30.049s 35 laps
9. Dan Ticktum Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda 1m 30.856s 135 laps
10. Romain Grosjean Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 1m 30.903s 87 laps
11. Fernando Alonso McLaren F1 Team 1m 31.006s 69 laps – Pirelli tyre test
12. Pietro Fittipaldi Rich Energy Haas F1 Team 1m 31.209s 48 laps
13. Lando Norris McLaren F1 Team 1m 31.303s 72 laps
14. Jack Aitken Renault F1 Team 1m 31.500s 103 laps
15. Nicholas Latifi ROKiT Williams Racing 1m 32.198s 100 laps
16. Carlos Sainz McLaren F1 Team 1m 32.269s 60 laps – Pirelli tyre test