The young Briton impressed at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix when he stood in for Lewis Hamilton, who was forced out of the event after contracting coronavirus.
Although Russell only did that one outing for Mercedes before Hamilton returned in Abu Dhabi, it was enough for him to get a proper insight in to how the world champion team operates.
While Russell has said that the fact he did so well for Mercedes was a boost to his overall confidence, he also reckons other benefits have come from the experience too – including his approach to work.
Speaking about key lessons that he has applied at Williams ahead of the start of the season, he says the Mercedes mindset was especially fascinating.
“I think the Mercedes way is very analytical and very in depth into certain details,” explained Russell. “I’ve been able to carry that over in how their engineers work and it is interesting.
“I can almost take a bit of both and almost merge them together to see what works best for myself. And equally, there were minor details from what I learned with the data there and I’ve tried to implement a bit of that here. They are all coming in handy.”
However, while there are certain approaches to work that are helping him, Russell equally knows that not everything that works at Mercedes will carry over to Williams.
“At the end of the day, F1 is very dynamic and you need to learn how to get the most out of your machine. If it works in a Mercedes, it doesn’t mean it works in a Williams.
“I think something I also learned is you have to be dynamic, and I had to change my driving quite a lot to suit their car to get the most out of their car. And equally when I came back to a Williams, I had to revert because I couldn’t do things in a Williams I could do in a Mercedes.”
Russell is in the final season of a three-year contract with Williams in 2021, and is hoping that an opportunity opens up for him to switch full-time to the Mercedes team in 2022.