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Russell focusing on W15’s improvement, rather than gap to Verstappen

George Russell says the Mercedes W15 is nicer to drive than the 2023 car after completing solid mileage during the first day of pre-season testing in Bahrain.

When launching the 2024 design, Mercedes put an emphasis on making the car less challenging for the drivers, with a focus on improving the troublesome rear end of last year’s car. After completing 122 laps and setting a best time that was only 12th fastest on the leaderboard — some 2.7 seconds slower than Max Verstappen’s benchmark — Russell was feeling positive about the initial feedback from the car.

“It was great to drive the W15 for the first time in anger today,” Russell said. “From hitting the ground, it felt like we had a good foundation to start from. We completed lots of laps and have plenty of data to go through tonight. We ended the day in a reasonably good spot, and we can build from here over the next two days.