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George Russell

Russell got caught in 'downward spiral'

The first race of the season started well but soon turned into a struggle for Russell and Mercedes.

Russell race Bahrain 2024
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has conceded engine overheating in his Mercedes W15 contributed to a "downward spiral" that prevented a podium challenge at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Briton made a strong start in F1's season-opener and had made his way to second on the road with a move to the outside of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at turn four in the opening stages.

Having held on to that position until Red Bull's Sergio Perez pounced, instructions to lift and coast excessively allowed both Ferrari's past, resulting in a fifth-place finish.

Detailing his issues, Russell told media including RacingNews365: "We had to turn the power down to stop the engine overheating and it cost us probably four-tenths a lap and from that point, we went backwards.

"It's a real shame, we didn't show the car's true potential, we need to understand how we got that one wrong."

Optimism for Mercedes?

Despite the issues that stopped his podium charge, the early pace Russell showed, as well as his qualifying effort, was enough to provide optimism moving forward.

"We probably made a really good first couple of laps," added Russell.

But he warned: "It is really difficult to say whether true pace would have fallen out because we had to turn the engine down, do lifting and coasting which had an effect on the tyres, so it was a downward spiral.

"I think the podium would have been out of reach, but for sure we could have given it a better go."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix