MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: George Russell of Great Britain and Williams talks to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: George Russell of Great Britain and Williams talks to the media in the Paddock during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit on March 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

‘S*** myself’: F1 ace’s awkward reveal

British Formula 1 ace George Russell has blamed his terrible start at the Australian Grand Prix on not being able to see the start lights.

The 21-year-old Williams driver finished 16th in Melbourne, but reckons he could have gotten off to a better start if he had been able to see the green light to start the Grand Prix, The Sun reports.

Still, it was not a bad effort considering it was his debut in a Grand Prix race.

Rookie Russell started at the back of the grid in Melbourne and claimed the rear wings blocked his and others' view of the start lights.

Instead he had to guess the green light by looking in reflective windows of Formula 1's corporate boxes, and almost made the wrong kind of skidmarks.

The King's Lynn ace said: "I pulled up on to the grid, looked up and realised I couldn't see anything and I kind of s*** my pants.

"I was looking all around and I ended up seeing the lights through the reflection of the Paddock Club windows.

"I was sat looking, with my head at a 45-degree angle and my start was terrible because I was looking around for a couple of seconds, where to go, then realised it was the fifth light and realised my hand was in the wrong position."

Rear wings this season are actually 7cm higher and 10cm wider than last year, to give the cars an extra aerodynamic edge.

Valterri Bottas clinched victory on the maiden GP of the season as world champ Lewis Hamilton finished second at Albert Park.



Captain slow.
Captain slow.

Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he is lacking in confidence in his new Renault as he suffered a disatrous opening day of practice ahead on Monday morning's (AEDT) Bahrain Grand Prix.

The struggling Aussie said he "was a long way off" as he suffered the embarrassment of finishing 1.2 seconds down from teammate Nico Hulkenberg - an entire 10 places down on the timesheets.

Ricciardo is still yet to find his feet after he was forced to run with a new chassis in Bahrain following his disastrous opening straight front wing disaster at the Australian Grand Prix.

"It was a bit difficult, particularly on the qualifying sim in the afternoon," Ricciardo said.

"I was a long way off. So we're just trying to figure out why.

"Once we did the long run, on the high fuel, it seemed a bit more representative again, but I certainly feel like it can be better.

"We just want to make sure everything's correct and symmetrical.

"I think [we need to] get the feeling in the car and the confidence.

"Today I certainly struggled with that, so we're just trying to figure out what we can do better to give me the feeling that I can push the car and find the limit."

His teammate doesn't seem to having those problems.

"Overall, it's been a productive day's work in Bahrain," Hulkenberg said as he finished fifth quickest in the second practice session.

"It's always a tricky place to arrive to for the second Grand Prix of the year with the heat and challenging climatic conditions with wind and dust. There was a distinct lack of grip in Practice One making it quite hard to drive and become comfortable in the car. We had to deal with a lot of oversteer.

"Practice Two was under more representative conditions and I feel we've made a good start for both short and long run preparation. Fifth place on the leaderboard always looks nice, but we're realistic and have our focus totally on qualifying tomorrow."

The two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc were the fastest on the opening day ahead of their two Mercedes rivals.


You sly devils.
You sly devils.

Mercedes fear a "completely different" Ferrari are ready to rip up F1's early-season formbook after the Scuderia dominated Friday practice at the Bahrain GP.

But Ferrari are remaining very cautious, with team boss Mattia Binotto describing Friday's timesheet as "misleading".

Just two weeks after their status as favourites for the Australian GP gave way to a wretched opening weekend, Ferrari outpaced Melbourne victors Mercedes by 0.6s under the Bahrain lights.

"The Ferraris have been quick from the get-go and picked up more pace from there, so it's completely different to what we've seen in Melbourne," said Lewis Hamilton.

"At the moment it looks like the Ferraris are ahead, so we have to keep our heads down, keep working, analyse things tonight and try and come back stronger tomorrow."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agreed, adding to Sky F1: "It's a completely different Ferrari to what we saw in Melbourne.

"In terms of pure pace, it's definitely more Barcelona than it was in Melbourne."

Hamilton also explained that Mercedes had "issues" with the balance in their W10.

"I think as we get to qualifying, everything will get a little bit closer," the world champion stated. "But it's going to be a tough battle."

Ferrari completed what Sebastian Vettel, Friday's pacesetter, described as an "intense" fortnight of analysis into what went wrong in Melbourne - when only the SF90's fast-corner performance resembled what they had seen in winter testing.

The team's straight-line speed was also noticeably - and unusually - poor, but one of Ferrari's recent traits has been back in evidence in Bahrain.

"You can see the enormous straight-line power of the Ferrari, it is where they are making all the gains up," said Wolff.