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George Russell

Dejected Russell points to where qualifying went wrong

George Russell was a surprise elimination from the Azerbaijan GP qualifying session, finishing in P11 in Q2.

Russell Baku
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

George Russell cast doubt on being able to extract much more time from his W14 car after his early Formula 1 qualifying elimination in Baku.

The Mercedes drivers appeared to struggle for pace at the Baku city circuit, with neither seemingly able to respond to Red Bull's pace, or Ferrari's improved performance.

Russell ended up as a surprise Q2 elimination, with the Briton setting the eleventh-fastest time and only just finishing behind teammate Lewis Hamilton in an eye-opening session for the team.

Speaking after qualifying, Russell pointed to a mistake on his final lap, but cast doubt on achieving a much higher result in Q3.

"We're not fast enough this weekend. I would have loved to have been in Q3, but I was giving it everything, but I made a mistake on my last lap," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com after qualifying.

"I don't think we would have been able to qualify higher than P8.

"It's a funny sport sometimes, going from qualifying on the front row at the last race to myself being out in Q2, and Lewis just getting in with P10."

With the Azerbaijan Grand Prix venue historically being an event with many overtaking opportunities, Russell was optimistic of a recovery drive in Sunday's race.

"At the last sprint race [in Brazil 2022] we hit the ground running and we were flying in every session, and in this one it's been the opposite, and I think that's just the way it goes sometimes," added Russell.

"I think right now, we wouldn't really know what to change to find the pace we need around this track. It's definitely a unique one, it's definitely outlier compared to the first three races we've been to.

"Of all the tracks that haven't been a bad qualifying, this is probably one of the races you would choose to do a bad one, so I see no reason why we can't fight back on Sunday."

F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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