Russell remembers ‘bloodshot eyes’ after ‘bonkers’ first F1 test

George Russell’s memory of his first outing at the wheel of an F1 still lingers in his mind, the Williams driver recalling an experience that left his eyes “bloodshot” at the end of the day.

Russell stepped up to F1 with Williams in 2019 after winning the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship, an achievement that followed his triumph in GP3 the previous year.

As a Mercedes protégé, Russell conducted thousands of miles of simulator testing for the Silver Arrows outfit before actually taking to the track onboard an F1 car.

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His very first real life test took place at Portimao in Portugal in 2017 where he was entrusted with a 2015 Mercedes W06. Speaking recently to the BBC, he recounted the maiden experience and its lasting impressions.

“It was incredibly fast,” he remembered. “It was honestly mind-blowing.

“I think the first time I drove I jumped from a Formula 3 car to an F1 car and it was like my mind couldn’t keep up, the speed was the initial feeling.

“The braking, we’re going into a corner at 200 miles an hour and you’re braking 100 metres before the corner, which was just absolutely bonkers. And my eyes couldn’t keep up.

“Actually after my first-ever day in an F1 car my eyes were fully bloodshot and I think that was just from the forces. And that happened for the first three days I ever did, and at the end of the day my eyes were fully bloodshot.

“So it’s just incredible. Your body takes time to get used to those horses. I’m fully used to it now but it was mind-blowing.”

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