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Russell on Verstappen fights: 'Brought me back to F2 and F3'.

Russell on Verstappen fights: 'Brought me back to F2 and F3'.

14 August - 18:18 Last update: 19:16
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George Russell has become increasingly confident in the first half of the season. The Briton is driving his first season with Mercedes and has noticed a marked difference from his previous Williams car. The better car has put Russell in a position to fight with other drivers on track. He also says that the team has an advantage at the start of a race.

The Mercedes driver is having a fine debut season with the German racing team so far. "I feel much more confident", Russell told The Race. "After a couple of races, it sort of brought me back to my junior career days and karting days and things just felt a bit more natural." Especially at the start of a race, the young Briton needed to get a bit more confident. "Whereas in my first three years of F1, I kind of felt like I was being taken for a ride many times on those opening laps."

Russell therefore believes Mercedes have an advantage at the start of a race. In doing so, the one-time polesitter speaks highly of for his teammate. "As a team, we’ve done a pretty good job at race starts,” Russell acknowledges. “I think Lewis historically has always been one of the best starters, in the sense of the launches. And since I’ve been here this year, we’ve been statistically one and two over the course of the season. That’s a real benefit and positive we’ve got to take away."

Big differences with Williams

This year Russell made the switch to Mercedes. The driver drove for Williams for three years, but the car was anything but competitive on Sunday. "At Williams, we had a very fast qualifying car,” he says. “But the true pace of the car was a little bit further down."

Mercedes failed to win in the first half of the season. Yet on several occasions, especially in the last few races, the drivers have been able to fight with the drivers from Red Bull Racing and Ferrari. "Barcelona was probably the first time this year for me where I had a real on-track battle. And that was obviously with Max [Verstappen]. It just brought me back to when I was racing F2 and F3, and that just felt natural." Russell concluded.

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