(Reuters) – George Russell, the only Formula One driver without a point this year, swapped his tail-end Williams for a title-winning Mercedes on Wednesday and ended up fastest on the final day of post-season testing in Abu Dhabi.
The Mercedes-backed rookie did 145 laps of the Yas Marina circuit, the second most of the day, with a fastest lap of one minute 37.204 seconds — more than three seconds quicker than his time for Williams on Tuesday.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashed, bringing out red flags, but was second fastest.
Russell’s time for the champions compared to Tuesday’s best, set by regular Mercedes race driver Valtteri Bottas, of 1:37.124.
Russell outqualified departing team mate Robert Kubica 21-0 this season but finished last overall after the Pole managed to score a point in Germany — the former champions’ only top-10 finish of the campaign.
Wednesday was his second stint for Mercedes this season, with the highly-rated 21-year-old testing in Bahrain last April.
“It’s been a pleasure driving the championship-winning W10 today. We tested the 2020 tyres and I’ve learned a huge amount about them which I’m sure will help both myself and the team going into next season,” said Russell.
Canadian Lance Stroll was third fastest for Racing Point.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)