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Sergio Perez

Mercedes did not 'gamble' with Sprint strategy - Russell

The Briton was one of the few to start on the Soft tyre in the top ten for the Qatar Sprint race.

Russell Qatar Friday
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell believes Mercedes did not "gamble" by putting him on the Soft tyre for the Qatar Grand Prix Sprint.

The Mercedes driver started from fourth on the grid, overtaking both Lando Norris and Max Verstappen on the run into the first corner.

Russell explained Mercedes' tyre strategy to media, including RacingNews365: "We knew that the Soft tyre would offer about seven meters into the first corner.

After a brief Safety Car he overtook Oscar Piastri, who started on the Mediums, for the lead.

But the brief tyre advantage on the Soft did not last long, as they degraded far worse than expected and enabled Piastri to retake the lead with ease.

Russell dropped further back in the final laps behind Norris and Verstappen, eventually finishing fourth and 6.2s ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"We don't think we've ever seen a Sprint race where the tyre has degraded like this," explained Russell.

"With all have information we had from the previous 12 Sprint races, we've never had a race like this."

Russell backs Mercedes strategy

Russell backed Mercedes strategy decision, even though it potentially cost them a shot at finishing on the podium due to the poor start from Norris.

"We didn't go in with the mentality that it was going to be a punt or a gamble," said Russell.

"We didn't use the tyre in practice, we thought the tyre was similar to the Medium, and we thought we needed to gather the data ahead of ahead of tomorrow.

"Had did we started on the Medium, I think would have finished in the same place."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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