George Russell says it was harder to re-adapt to Williams’ FW43 than it was to get up to speed in Mercedes’ title-winning W11.
Russell, who has raced for Williams since the start of 2019, was drafted in by Mercedes to replace Lewis Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix after the World Champion tested positive for Covid-19.
Russell then returned to Williams for the season-ending round in Abu Dhabi after Hamilton tested negative and was cleared to compete at the event.
It marked the first time since Mika Salo in 1999 that one driver has competed for both the World Champion team and the squad that finished last in the standings in the same year.
When asked which he found more challenging – stepping up to Mercedes or climbing back in the Williams – Russell said: “Actually harder probably jumping back to the Williams because the Mercedes car is so good, it’s what every driver wants from a race car, the Mercedes gives you.
“You feel the driver is in control of the Mercedes whereas sometimes it is almost like our car is controlling the driver, we have to react to it, whereas in the Mercedes you are the one controlling it.
“I think that’s only natural when you have a great car underneath you, it is a true joy to drive, and maybe that’s why I probably got up to speed with it relatively quickly.”
Russell says switching between two cars at opposite ends of the performance spectrum emphasised the need to have a flexible approach behind the wheel.
“I think the thing I’ve learned most is you have to be adaptable,” he said.
“My driving style I did in the Williams actually hurt me slightly in the Mercedes and actually when I came back to the Williams and I tried to implement some of the things I did in that Bahrain race I couldn’t do it in the Williams.
“The thing it reinforced to me is you have to be open-minded and adapt to what the car is giving you.
“And if one guy drives like that in a Mercedes it doesn’t mean you can drive like that in a Williams and vice versa.”