George Russell has said Williams will close the gap to a ‘very fast’ Alfa Romeo, after the Grove-based squad struggled with the conditions in Baharain, which the Brit believes helped their Ferrari-powered rival.

“It was a very bizarre weekend [in Bahrain],” Russell said. “Very windy, very tricky. Bahrain is always a bit different to a lot of the other circuits – racing in the evening, the tarmac is very abrasive. So a reset here at Imola, and this will probably be on the other end of the spectrum, being very cold, a fast-flowing circuit as opposed to the more slow-speed of Bahrain.”

Russell believes the conditions in Bahrain affected how Williams performed on that weekend, saying he would be “surprised” if the gap between them and Alfa Romeo was the same.

“I do think those conditions in Bahrain went against us slightly and I do think they probably favored Alfa Romeo more than most. I’ll be surprised if the delta between ourselves and Alfa is just as great this weekend. They definitely looked very, very fast in Bahrain, but I think that was potentially a one-off.

“So this will be a good test for all of us and I think this weekend and over the course of the season, that won’t be the same gap as we saw in Bahrain… fingers crossed when we get back to more normal circumstances, we can close the gap.”

Rain is a possibility this weekend at Imola, and Russell said it is “always welcome in our position,” stating it will help ‘spice things up,’ something he believes is beneficial in the mid-to-back section of the grid.

“I think rain is always welcome in our position. It spices things up and I think the mid to back end of the grid, you need a bit of spiciness in there to create opportunities.

“But I do think fr us it would be nice to have a dry weekend to just have two ends of the spectrum to review how the car was in Bahrain, and to see how the performance was in Imola. But nevertheless, we’ve got a 23-race season and we’re here to make the most of every single weekend. So rain is definitely welcome.”

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