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George Russell

Russell brushes off Hamilton theory over qualifying woes

George Russell managed to bag eighth place during qualifying in China - 10 places ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton who endured a difficult session.

Russell sprint China
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George Russell has refuted Lewis Hamilton's claim that the duo went in different directions with their car set-ups in China.

Hamilton endured a difficult qualifying session in Shanghai and ended the outing in 18th place - his lowest result in seven years.

Hamilton detailed that he made “massive changes” from the sprint to qualifying and explained he went in a different direction compared to Russell.

However, Russell, who qualified in eighth place, claims the set-ups between the cars were similar during the session.

“We're pretty similar on the setups, we both went in a similar direction, but there’s a small difference,” Russell told media including RacingNews365.

“Directionally very, very similar between the two of us but we both made big changes from the sprint race.

“If we optimised everything this weekend, maybe we would have finished P3, P4, P5 in qualifying. But we still wouldn't be content with that.

“We want to fight for victories and championships in hopefully the minimum next year. Sometimes need to sacrifice in the short term to make some greater gains down the line.

“We are still trying to find the development path we need to be on to make some big steps. That’s just where we are at the moment.”

'Surprised' to see Hamilton result

Hamilton's disastrous qualifying result is the lowest he's finished in a session since the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix.

On that occasion, Hamilton made a mistake on his opening lap in qualifying and suffered terminal damage following contract with the barrier.

When asked if he was surprised to see Hamilton's result in China, Russell said: “Of course, surprised to see where Lewis ended up.

“He’s the greatest driver of all time and that’s not where he should be, it’s not where we should be fighting.

“We're here together as a team. Collectively, we just need to keep on pushing forward and try and make some big gains as the season goes on.”

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Qualifying