Russell jokingly considered 'massive' jump-start amid Williams woes

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George Russell admits he jokingly considered making a "massive" jump-start last year as Williams struggled at the back of the grid.

The Briton made the revelation after sarcastically praising Johnny Herbert for his strategy of cutting across the grass approaching Turn 1 to take the lead at the start of the first Formula 1 Virtual GP in Bahrain just over two weeks ago.

And though of course he never went ahead with the intentional early launch, Russell admits the inevitable punishment from the stewards may have been worth it given such a drastic measure was the only way to move Williams higher up the grid.

“I have a bit of experience starting near the back so I might take that one in when we go racing again and get a bit of TV time,” he told Herbert on Sky Sports' ‘Vodcast’.

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“I was actually weighing up the option once as a bit of a joke, wondering what the penalty would be if you massively jump-started.

“You might actually be more beneficial just to do it and take the penalty than starting at the back.”

Of course, once the new season finally gets underway, Russell will be hoping Williams is better placed to challenge the other midfield teams on performance alone.

And McLaren's Lando Norris does believe the British team will be much more competitive.

"I think Williams are much closer. They're within the battle, basically, so we need to think about them," he said.

"Now we have to include them [in our strategies] and we're going to be racing them. It's not going to be easy to pass them.

"We just have to be a bit more aware there's another team now involved.

"Apart from that, I think it's not too dissimilar to how it was last year."