MARCH 15, 2019
No pressure on dead-last Williams says Russell
George Russell has denied that Williams is under pressure this weekend in Melbourne.
Once a multiple race and title-winning team, Oxfordshire based Williams has hit rock bottom more recently and will almost certainly be dead last in Australia.
"Myself and the team don't feel any great pressure," Russell, the reigning Formula 2 champion, said in Melbourne.
"Everyone is expecting us to finish last with a big gap to our rivals, or that our wheels fall off as soon as we leave the garage. So from the outside, it seems that anything other than that will be an excellent achievement."
Russell's teammate this year is the highly popular Robert Kubica, who is making a high profile return to F1 from serious injury.
"I feel bad for Robert," former driver Marc Surer told Blick newspaper. "He is in the worst car and his teammate George Russell is pretty hot.
"On paper, Kubica can only lose."
Indeed, in Melbourne, Kubica described the 2019 car as "slow". But Russell said the single seater is not terrible.
"We don't have such a bad car," the Briton insisted. "It handles well and the guys will now try to increase the downforce and make it faster.
"Last year's chassis had huge balance problems, but now we have a good basis for further work."
But he says that process of catching up will not be quick.
"It is impossible to fix everything overnight," said Russell. "It will be more of a gradual process, but I want to be here for a long time. I am prepared to make compromises so that it pays off later."