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today is Dec 02, 2021

George Russell was impressed by his first experience of the circuit which will hold the first Qatar Grand Prix later this month after driving it for the first time in the simulator.

The Williams driver said the Losail International Circuit reminded him of the Mugello track in Italy which F1 made a one-off appearance at last year.

“Mugello is more undulating and Qatar’s flat,” said Russell. “But in terms of corner layouts, the lefts and rights, in terms of a speed profile, it’s got hints of Mugello.”

Russell described Losail as a “very, very fast and flowing” course with “not a lot of time to relax and then obviously, we’ve got this big long straight”. He believes the track layout will present an interesting set-up challenge for F1 teams.

“There’s lots of medium-speed corners, fourth, fifth gear corners,” Russell explained. “There’s only one slow-speed corner, which I think is going to be really interesting, and then followed on to a really long straight.

Losail International Circuit, Qatar Track data: Losail International Circuit

“So it’s going to be difficult because I think there’ll be a lot of split in strategy in terms of where people run the downforce, because the straight’s so long yet you’ve got so many corners where you need that downforce.”

Qatar will be the first of three unfamiliar venues for teams. It and the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia are new tracks, while Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi has been extensively remodelled for this year.

“From these last five races, we’ve got two new tracks and Abu Dhabi with the changes it’s had,” said Russell. “And the sprint race in Brazil, so there could be a few unknowns into the last quarter of the season.”

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