Mercedes has brought a host of updates to its car in Miami, including a lower-drag rear spoiler and a revised front wing panel design.
While Russell warned that the updates wouldn’t provide a “silver bullet” to remedy Mercedes’ woes, he managed to finish second in FP1 before setting the fastest time of the day in FP2.
But Russell cautioned that it was “absolutely” too early for people to get ahead of Mercedes’ pace, admitting he wasn’t sure why he was so quick to get off the blocks.
“I don’t really understand, to be honest, why we hit the ground running,” Russell said.
“We always knew before this weekend that the conditions had to suit us better, because we were struggling a lot with warming up the tires, even in Bahrain when the track was really tough.
“But this is the first real hot race of the season. So that definitely played a factor. The car is running fine, but only on Friday, so don’t drift too far.”
George Russell, Mercedes W13 in Mercedes garage
Photography: Steve Etherington / motorsports pictures
Russell added he was “not sure” if the updates had given Mercedes a better understanding of which development direction it was taking with the car, but acknowledged it had been a good day for the team.
“When I got off FP1, I was right in the stewardesses office because of a passenger plane accident with [Esteban] Russell said.
“Then straight into FP2, I was working with our engineers to maximize setup and leave it up to the informers to see if it was the right direction.
“It was a really productive day for us, and probably our most productive Friday.”
When asked about his message to Mercedes fans, Russell replied: “What I’m saying is practice means nothing, and we’re back again on Saturday.”
Hamilton was also wary of reading too much about Mercedes’ pace, and said that while the car “looks like” the updates, feedback from the team has been positive.
“It looks like we’re faster here, and then they kind of explained to us that we definitely improved in some way,” Hamilton said.
“I’m not sure where that is. But we still had the recoil, so we didn’t address it, but I think little by little as the car got better.”
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