George Russell has allayed his pace deficit to Lewis Hamilton in the United States Grand Prix weekend, believing a mix of his own weakness and the Austin track combined to leave him trailing.
Hamilton was the decidedly better Mercedes driver across the entire weekend at Austin, qualifying for both Sprint and the Grand Prix in third place and finishing both races second, even closing to just over a second behind Max Verstappen in the main event.
Meanwhile, Russell had a quiet weekend and picked up a track limits penalty in the Sprint for passing Oscar Piastri off the circuit while also receiving a grid drop for impeding Charles Leclerc.
Russell would come home seventh in the Grand Prix, but would later be promoted to fifth when Hamilton and Leclerc were both disqualified for excessive wear to the plank under their cars.
It is been a tough second season for Russell at Mercedes, with only one podium finish to his name from 18 races - a third place in Spain - but he felt the Texas weekend was simply an outlier.
Viewed by others:
"The story of the season is of missed opportunities, on the back foot from the beginning, making a bad start and then we put the Hard tyre on and had to manage the fuel and engine," Russell told media including RacingNews365.
"We were about a second off the pace, then put the Mediums back on and we were the quickest car on track, and closed in on Max by about 10 seconds and Lewis by a couple of seconds.
"I am standing here thinking it is definitely another missed opportunity and it is frustrating.
"It was one of my strongest weekends in Qatar, so we felt this was a bit of a bogey track.
"For me, I've always struggled here and Lewis is it one of his strongest circuits, but I am not too concerned about it and feel like this is definitely a bit of an outlier with how bumpy it is, really old tarmac with all the subsidence and cracks around.
"As I said, it just feels like the story of a year Last year, I don't think we missed an opportunity, maybe in one or two races. This year it feels like 50% of the year we've been far from maximising the points."
In better news for Russell, he was highly positive of the upgraded floor Mercedes brought to Austin, believing it will put it on the right course for 2024.
"The upgrade probably exceeded my expectations this weekend," he said.
"I am definitely excited heading into next year with what I think we'll be capable of achieving, so it is definitely looking like the right step."