George Russell believes that Mercedes have started pre-season testing slightly behind McLaren and Ferrari. The first two days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has seen F1's most historic teams dominate the timesheets, with 2021 title rivals Red Bull and Mercedes yet to join the battle at the front. Russell believes that Ferrari and McLaren have adjusted well to the new regulations, describing them as being "on top of everything" so far. "[We're] certainly not ahead, I'm pretty sure of that," Russell said after finishing fourth on Thursday's timesheets, when asked where Mercedes are compared to Ferrari and McLaren. "They seem to have things well under control and they're on top of everything. They look very strong on low fuel, high fuel, and with the tyre management. "Who knows? We all know that we're on different programmes, but we definitely know from the average of all of the different runs that we're behind them at the moment. "Let's wait and see. The championship isn't won in Barcelona winter testing, but it has certainly been an intriguing two days. "
Russell: Ferrari and McLaren look "very, very competitive"
Russell added that the first two days of testing have resulted in some "intriguing" problems, as F1 establishes a new pecking order under the revolutionary new regulations. One major issue that has cropped up is that of "porpoising", where the cars can be seen bouncing along the road at high speed – brought about by the switch to a ground effect aerodynamic philosophy. "I think you could see quite some substantial issues with some of the cars in the straights and the bottoming [out]," Russell said. "So this is a compromise we need to find to go quickly around the lap and it's something I don't think any team have experienced before. "It's really intriguing, this test. Obviously, [it's a] new car, new tyres, a different dynamic out there. But we're seeing some interesting things. That's what testing is for. "Some teams are looking pretty fast – a red team and an orange team, in particular, look very, very competitive. So let's see what tomorrow brings and what we can do between this test and [the second test in] Bahrain."