George Russell forced to abandon car during F1 pre-season testing in blow to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes | The Sun
GEORGE RUSSELL was forced to abandon his Mercedes Formula One car during pre-season testing after suffering a hydraulics failure.
The Mercedes W14 was brought to a halt with Russell behind the wheel during the second session of the day on Friday, causing a red flag.
Russell and team boss Toto Wolff have been talking up the performance of their car ahead of the new season.
However, Friday's failure will come as a blow to Merc, Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who are hoping to be competitive this season.
The hydraulics failure left Russell unable to change gear or use power steering.
The Brit could not shift up or down from fourth gear and had to abandon the car on track.
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Former F1 racer Anthony Davidson said on Sky Sports' coverage: "It would make sense that he's stuck in fourth gear because the hydraulics controls the gear shift mechanism along with the power steering.
"He had no clutch and that's also controlled by hydraulics.
"He's got the green light on top of the car as well so it's not a hybrid issue."
The team later said on Twitter: "We’ve confirmed it was a hydraulic failure that caused George’s car to stop on track.
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"That’s likely to be the end of our running for today. Back on track tomorrow."
The fault comes after Russell expressed confidence that he can match double champ Max Verstappen, who's driving for Red Bull.
The 25-year-old said: "I definitely head into the season believing I can [win the championship].
"At every point of my career I have gone in believing, but you need to take a rational view once you get to the track.
"We definitely believe that eventually we will have a car capable of getting into that fight.
"But Red Bull are looking very strong, very stable, and obviously Max is performing really well so realistically it will be a stretch for us next week.
"But there is no reason why we cannot get there eventually at some point this year.
"We have always seen in the past the strength of Mercedes' development rate, so the belief is there."
The F1 season kicks off next weekend in Bahrain.
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