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George Russell

Russell cautious of Mercedes compromise after 'big step'

The Mercedes driver finished third in qualifying for F1's season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Russell Bahrain 2024
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George Russell is hopeful Mercedes has not compromised its race prospects after making a "big step" in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying.

The British driver will start the F1 season opener from third on the grid after an impressive qualifying performance at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Brackley-based Mercedes has struggled at this venue with new cars over the past two seasons, further highlighting the step forward made with the W15 after a positive pre-season test a week prior.

"Everybody at the factory has done an amazing job to give Lewis [Hamilton, teammate] and I a car that we feel much happier with, a base that we can build upon," said Russell.

"But ultimately Max is still out there in front, we have still got some catching up to do.

"When we look at our qualifying performances the last two years in Bahrain and our race pace, starting P3 is a great place."

'Huge amount of work'

Russell had struggled compared to Hamilton in testing, with car balance his biggest sticking point.

On how he has turned that around, he explained: "A huge amount of work, we have had some great drivers back at the base doing the work on the simulator.

"Me and Lewis have been back on the simulator as well, fine-tuning the set-up and making some improvements.

"Time will tell, we have obviously made a big step forward on single-lap qualifying pace, we hope we haven't compromised the race pace at all, I think it'll be a close fight between everybody other than Max."

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