Mercedes junior driver George Russell is hoping that his second day behind the wheel of W09 this week will go a little smoother than the first.

Russell is undertaking test duties for the team this week in the second in-season test of 2018, which is being held at the Hungaroring in Budapest.

The current Formula 2 championship leader is at work for Mercedes on both days of the test. However he completed only 49 laps of running on Tuesday, less than anyone else taking part.

The fastest time of the session was set by Ferrari’s Antonio Giovinazzi. He completed almost double Russell’s tally with 96 laps in the books, the best clocking in at 1:15.648s compared to Russell’s 1:19.781s.

However this was certainly not dampening the 20-year-old Briton’s enthusiasm for the occasion.

“It’s been fantastic to get back behind the wheel of the Mercedes Formula 1 car,” he said. “The speed, power and downforce are just completely on another level.

“As soon as I jumped in this morning I had a massive smile on my face,” he added. “It’s unbelievable how quick and how much grip this car has got. Just an unbelievable experience to get back there.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t quite do as many laps as anticipated owing to some rain this afternoon,” he said.

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“We had a few issues which limited our running,” he added. “But nevertheless it’s been a really good day for me and I think the team learned some things, which is important.”

“I was pleased with my performance and I think the team got some valuable information in the limited laps we did.”

“We had an issue with the gearbox early,” explained chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin. “That cost us some time.

“We were able to tick off some of the data collection test items in the remainder of the morning and early afternoon but, just as we started to get into some proper running, it began to rain!”

Russell is hoping that Wednesday will allow him to get more laps in than he managed on day one.

“F1 time is very limited for a young driver, so it’s always extremely important to make the most of that chance when you have it,” he said. “Obviously the more I can get the better.

“But I think it will not be the end of the world if we had another day like today, because I believe there will be more opportunities in the future.”

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While the re-signing of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas means there is no room at the Silver Arrows for Russell in 2019, he has been linked with potential race seats elsewhere on the grid – including Williams.

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