Ted Kravitz labelled George Russell ‘a fool’ ahead of Bahrain GP

F1: George Russell hikes during the off-season

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Sky Sports F1 analyst Ted Kravitz took aim at George Russell ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, after the Mercedes ace complained on the eve of the 2023 season.

The teams were given just three days to test their new vehicles in Bahrain before the first weekend of the 2023 campaign commenced. Several members of the paddock voiced their complaints after claiming they have not had a sufficient period to learn about and adjust to their new cars.

Russell insisted changes should be made to testing as he made a surprise comparison with tennis legend Rafael Nadal and the French Open. “Personally speaking, I don’t think three days is enough, because you have got to remember from a driver’s perspective, that is one and a half days per driver,” he said.

“We were fortunate to do the [filming days] last week, but had we not, that would have been getting on for 12 weeks out of the car from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain. Could you imagine Rafael Nadal spending 12 weeks without hitting a ball and then going straight into the French Open with one and a half days of training? You know it just wouldn’t ever happen.”

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Kravtiz took exception to the Mercedes driver’s comments and claimed less testing days creates a more exciting product for the fans. “[Russell] is a driver, so he wants more practice, which is valid,” Kravitz explained on the Sky Sports F1 Vodcast.

“The engineers want more so they can do their engineering things, which is not valid. It’s interesting because they will all get to the first race slightly undercooked, apart from Red Bull. But it’s much better for us viewers, us fans, to get to the first race and have something going on rather than a procession.”

He added: “Anyone who said that ‘three days of testing was not enough’ is a fool, basically. Because it was enough, there was loads of running, people doing three Grand Prix distances because the reliability was so good. So, it is fine.”

The 23-year-old will line up on the grid in sixth place for tomorrow’s Bahrain GP, one spot ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Both Silver Arrows drivers highlighted the improvements they need to make in order to compete with front runners Red Bull, and both their Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will start on the front row at the Bahrain International Circuit.

“There are few teams looking very strong,” said Russell, who might still not have optimised the car in its current form. We just have to look at our data – we made some big changes, and [we need to] see if it has worked as it was supposed to.

“The car is in a very different window [than at the pre-season test]. It feels a little bit better but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s faster. We want to be higher up the timesheets than we are. That’s no secret.

“It is only our fourth day with the car and we just have to make sure we have it in the window where we are reaching its full potential and right now I am pretty sure we have not got it there.”

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