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George Russell moves one step closer to a Formula One drive thanks to hot lap

George Russell about to set off in the Mercedes AMG Petronas W09 EQ Power+ in which he set the fastest lap time around the Hungaroring circuit. Picture: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

George Russell about to set off in the Mercedes AMG Petronas W09 EQ Power+ in which he set the fastest lap time around the Hungaroring circuit. Picture: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

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Having posted the fastest ever lap of the Hungaroring in last week’s in-season Formula One testing George Russell may well have propelled himself into a Grand Prix seat for next season.

Norfolk racer George Russell testing the Grand Prix race winning Mercedes AMG Petronas W09 EQ Power+ at the Hungaroring in which he set the fastest lap time around the Budapest circuit at the recent F1 in-season test. Picture: Mercedes-AMG Petronas MotorsportNorfolk racer George Russell testing the Grand Prix race winning Mercedes AMG Petronas W09 EQ Power+ at the Hungaroring in which he set the fastest lap time around the Budapest circuit at the recent F1 in-season test. Picture: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport

If Russell were to secure a F1 ride next year he would become the third Norfolk born racer to compete at the highest level joining the ranks alongside Martin Brundle and Ralph Firman Junior.

Russell, the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport F1 reserve driver, was selected to carry out two days of testing the latest Formula One car from the all-conquering Mercedes stable as its looks to strength Lewis Hamilton’s grip on the F1 Drivers Championship.

The first day focused on aero rake data collection along with collecting information relating to engine and chassis vibration but a minor gearbox issue and a brief rain shower interrupted the local racers running in the afternoon.

“It’s been fantastic to get back behind the wheel of the Mercedes Formula One car.

“The speed, power and downforce are just completely on another level, so as soon as I jumped in this morning I had a massive smile on my face,” confirmed Russell.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite do as many laps as anticipated owing to some rain this afternoon and a couple of small issues this morning.

“Nevertheless, it’s been a really good day for me and I think the team learned some things, which is important. Now I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

The second day ran much smoother for the local racer who completed 116 laps of the Hungaroring track and set a new bench mark of 1m 15.575s for the Budapest circuit using the ‘HyperSoft’ compound Pirelli tyre.

“Day two ran very smoothly and was a much more productive day for the team and me,” said Russell.

“We did some runs on the HyperSoft tyre, which was an incredible experience for me. I had never driven that tyre before, nor a Formula One car in anything other than a race setup.

“That was a great experience and it puts a smile on my face that we achieved the fastest lap ever around the Hungaroring.

“All in all, it’s been two productive and positive days and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to drive an F1 car again.”

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