Russell straight out fastest subbing for Lewis Hamilton

Proving that Lewis Hamilton has won so many races and championships because he has the best car, George Russell (shown smiling ear-to-ear above), filling in this weekend for a Covid-stricken Hamilton, turned the fastest lap in opening practice for the Sakhir GP.

Russell never drove the car before, but it is so superior it was able to step in and immediately go fastest with a lap of 54.546s in his #63 Mercedes.

George Russell – LAT Images

Bottas could only manage 4th best time behind the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.

Elsewhere, it was a good session for the AlphaTauri pair who came home fifth and sixth with Kvyat edging Gasly by by just over a tenth. They headed the midfield – and could be one to watch this weekend.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, there is plenty of time to go and Bottas will get on top of his set up issues but in a week of extraordinary stories, Russell going from the very back to the very front of the grid seems a fitting way to kick off proceedings.

The track was as quick as expected, with times down in the 54’s already. With the sections of the track not used last week likely to rubber in and speed up, not to mention qualifying modes perfected and fuel loads reduced – just how quick with this lot go tomorrow in Q3?

Practice 1 Results

1 George Russell GBR Mercedes AMG 0:54.546
2 Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 0:54.722
3 Alexander Albon THA Aston Martin Red Bull Racing 0:54.811
4 Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMGne Team 0:54.868
5 Daniil Kvyat RUS Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 0:55.011
6 Pierre Gasly FRA Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 0:55.166
7 Esteban Ocon FRA Renault F1 Team 0:55.273
8 Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 0:55.281
9 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team 0:55.379
10 Charles Leclerc MON Scuderia Ferrari 0:55.449
11 Lance Stroll CAN BWT Racing Point F1 Team 0:55.558
12 Sergio Perez MEX BWT Racing Point F1 Team 0:55.716
13 Carlos Sainz SPA McLaren F1 Team 0:55.757
14 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 0:55.738
15 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen 0:55.858
16 Lando Norris GBR McLaren F1 Team 0:56.078
17 Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team 0:56.130
18 Nicholas Latifi CAN Williams Racing 0:56.764
19 Pietro Fittipaldi BRA Haas F1 Team 0:57.077
20 Jack Aitken GBR Williams Racing 0:57.187
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