George Russell says the Mercedes W15 is an improvement already from last year, as both he and Lewis Hamilton feel a bit more confident driving it.

The new regulation caught out Mercedes as they struggled with its W13 and the subsequent W14. They showed glimpses of performance, but overall it didn’t work as they were forced to change its concept for 2024 with the W15.

Its only been couple of days of testing and Russell already feels a bit better from its predecessor. He states that it is a step in the right direction and a good baseline to build upon. “It was great to be back in the car driving W15 for the first time,” he said.

“And it does put a step in the right direction, but there’s no hiding that our competitors have also done a really great job. We know we had a mountain to climb with the performance Red Bull showed last year. For anybody to overcome that gap was a huge test.

“But definitely the car is feeling nice to drive, but ultimately it’s down to the lap times. We still haven’t seen truly yet where everybody is falling out. But Red Bull seems to have done a really great job again and they made our favourites,” summed up Russell, who when asked about the car eliminating its balance troubles, was affirmative of it.

The previous cars were famously called ‘diva’ by the drivers and Russell notes it is not a diva anymore already. “You can definitely tell from the very beginning if the car is an improvement and if it’s nice to drive,” continued Russell. “And it definitely is an improvement. There’s no doubt about that.

“But you could have the worst car to drive, but if it’s faster than everybody else, you’ll be happy with it. So, it was definitely pleasurable to drive. I had a good feeling within the car, but we know that all of the other teams have made a good step forward. And right now, it’s definitely far too early to say.

“We’ve definitely got a much better platform for us to build upon, and it’s not the Diva that it was in the last two years. The car last year was really challenging to drive. Lewis and I had no confidence in it. It felt like it was going to bite us every single corner. We couldn’t attack the medium and high-speed corners without the rear end snapping out.

“And we felt like we’d made a really good step in terms of the consistency of the car. We can really lean on it better than we’ve been able to in the past. And this was a huge focus throughout last year. We saw many flaws with the W14, which the team have done a really great job to rectify.

“And we’ve now got a car, mechanically, where the aerodynamics can go and focus on building downforce upon that. Whereas in the past, whatever we did aerodynamically, there was underlying issues with the race car that took a while to understand and solve,” summed up Russell.

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