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George Russell

Russell calls for changes after spoiled day at Suzuka: 'I hope we find a solution'

It seems a disrupted day of practice has thrown a few spanners in the works for the teams and drivers.

Russell Australia
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George Russell has called for "common sense" to be applied going into qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix after a disrupted day of practice at Suzuka.

The first hour-long session was punctuated by a red flag for Logan Sargeant's crash in his Williams, whilst the second was hit by rain that came and went, but enough to consign to their garages six drivers who chose not to venture out at all.

That was predominantly due to the new regulations surrounding intermediate tyres this year, and the teams opting to play it safe and keep enough sets in hand to cover for the weekend should further rain strike.

Mercedes driver Russell, who was fourth quickest in FP1, half a second behind Red Bull'sMax Verstappen, is hoping a positive call will now be made surrounding the rubber allocation for the remainder of the weekend.

"It's such a shame for all the fans here, and for people from home who have travelled three-quarters of the way around the world, to not do any laps is pretty annoying," assessed Russell of the day's running, in particular with FP2.

"I hope the FIA allow all the teams to carry over a set of dry tyres into FP3 because ordinarily in FP3 we don't do many laps, just practising for qualifying, so that will be great for us, great for the fans.

"So I hope common sense prevails there, and I hope we find a solution for these kinds of conditions because this is not the first time this has happened, and it definitely won't be the last time."

At least Russell, like team-mate Lewis Hamilton, was left happy with the performance of the W15 around one of the trickiest tracks on the F1 calendar.

In light of Mercedes' miserable display at the last race in Australia, even in terms of pace before the events of Sunday's race in which Hamilton retired with a PU issue and Russell crashed out on the penultimate lap, improvements had to be made.

Russell can at least sense there has been a step forward. He added: "In FP1, we definitely performed better than expected, so that was a pleasant surprise. The car was feeling really nice to drive, and Lewis and I were really happy with the balance.

"It has been performing better when it's slightly colder but we've been doing a lot of test items to try and make that car a little more consistent when conditions are variable, so time will tell.

"FP2 was definitely a miss for everybody as we had some interesting things we wanted to try but that's the nature of Formula 1 sometimes."

Attempting to assess the team's prospects going into qualifying, Russell said: "It's going to be very challenging because it's a clear one-lap tyre in qualifying, you can't do multiple laps on the tyre.

"Most drivers may only have three or four sets for qualifying so you've got to be nailing those laps at every opportunity if you want any hope of getting into Q3 with two sets of new tyres.

"I think you're going to see higher degradation, and that's where the focus is going to be."

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