George Russell admits that Mercedes' victory at the penultimate race of the 2022 F1 season may have led them down the "wrong path" with their car concept for 2023.
Russell claimed the squad's first and only win of the campaign at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with the 1-2 result suggesting that the Silver Arrows' fortunes were on the up.
However, given the team's continued struggles into 2023 with their W14 car, Russell acknowledges that the victory might have given them false hope over their level of improvement.
Russell: We truly thought we were on to something
When asked by RacingNews365.com if the team's success in Brazil had given Mercedes' hope that the car concept was a winning one, Russell responded: "Yeah, perhaps Brazil did lead us down a bit of a wrong path, because we did feel like we were improving as a team, that we were going in the right direction.
"And that needs some analysis as well, because we did improve throughout last year, there's no two ways about it.
"Especially towards the end of the year, we truly thought we were onto something, and the W14 was probably a more extreme version of the car we had at the end of last year.
"But clearly, others have gone in different directions. We've gone further in that direction, and it wasn't the right one."
Viewed by others:
Never 100 per cent certainty over direction, says Russell
On whether there remains any uncertainty over the direction that the team now have to go in with the car, Russell admitted that the confidence Brazil gave them shows that there will never be complete certainty.
"We're pretty sure of the direction we need to go down," the Briton said.
"I think there's never any 100 per cent certainty because, if I'm being honest, sat here after Brazil, I would have said, 'I'm 100 per cent certain the path we're on is the right path'.
"And all of you in the room would have probably believed it as well, looking at the progression we've made.
"So something's changed over the winter, the FIA have changed the rules to the floor. We probably haven't captured that in the way that others have.
"We've overlooked this, and we're not where we want to be, so there's never 100 per cent certainty."
Join RacingNews365.com journalists Michael Butterworth and Dieter Rencken as they discuss all the key talking points ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.