George Russell immediately asserted himself as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton in the first practice for the Sakhir Grand Prix in Formula 1.
The Briton set the best lap time in the Mercedes of the world champion (54,546). Max Verstappen was second fastest; he admitted 0.176 seconds to Russell. Alexander Albon, Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull Racing, clocked third, 0.265 seconds slower than Russell.
Hamilton tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week and is therefore not allowed to participate in the second Formula 1 race in Bahrain.
He won the first race on the desert circuit last Sunday. Russell is a regular driver at Williams this year, but comes from Mercedes training and was given the opportunity by the German team to replace Hamilton in the fastest car on the field.
The second race in Bahrain will be held on the so-called Outer Circuit; it is a short circuit with few curves and many straights. The drivers stayed well within a minute in their fast laps. On Sunday in the race, they have to go around 87 times.