George Russell quickest as curtain falls on 2019 F1 action

George Russell testing for Mercedes in Abu Dhabi

George Russell set the fastest time during the final official Formula 1 track action of 2019 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Williams racer Russell switched to Mercedes, whose junior programme he has been with since 2017, for Wednesday’s track running at the Yas Marina Circuit.

It marked Russell’s second opportunity of driving the W10, having been drafted in to carry out the rookie test in Bahrain, with regular racers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas attending a sponsor event in Malaysia.

Russell clocked a best time of 1:37.204 as he finished almost two-tenths of a second up on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Leclerc’s running came to a premature end midway through the afternoon when he suffered a minor off through Turn 13, losing control over the kerb, causing the only red flag of the day’s activities.

The two-day test provided an opportunity for teams and drivers to evaluate Pirelli’s expected 2020 tyres alongside its 2019 compounds.

Teams will vote on whether to use the 2020 tyres or stick with the 2019 specifications, with a decision needed by Monday.

If seven of the 10 teams vote in favour of the 2019 tyres then they will be retained, otherwise, the 2020 compounds will be used.

Racing Point’s Lance Stroll was the only other driver to set a time in the 1:37s while Pierre Gasly was fourth for Toro Rosso, in front of McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr.

Esteban Ocon racked up more experience upon his return to Renault, ahead of his 2020 race debut for the squad, while Alexander Albon was seventh for Red Bull Racing.

Antonio Giovinazzi and 2020 debutant Nicholas Latifi placed eighth and ninth respectively.

Haas handed a day of track time to simulator driver Pietro Fittipaldi while Roy Nissany completed a handful of hours in the morning for Williams, prior to handing the car over to Latifi.

Formula 1 action will resume with the start of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 19 2020.

# Driver Team Time Gap Laps
1 G. Russell Mercedes 1:37.204   145
2 C. Leclerc Ferrari 1:37.401 0.197 103
3 L. Stroll Racing Point 1:37.999 0.695 132
4 P. Gasly Toro Rosso 1:38.166 0.962 146
5 C. Sainz Jr McLaren 1:38.729 1.525 112
6 E. Ocon Renault 1:38.950 1.746 128
7 A. Albon Red Bull 1:39.181 1.977 139
8 P. Fittipaldi Haas 1:39.682 2.478 135
9 A. Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 1:39.811 2.607 115
10 N. Latifi Williams 1:40.188 2.984 107
11 R. Nissany Williams 1:43.892 6.688 38