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George Russell

Russell issues confident appraisal of Mercedes gains

George Russell is confident Mercedes has turned a corner, with its recent pace improvements mirroring what the team had forecast.

Russell Wolff
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has asserted that Mercedes' recent return to form "hasn't been a surprise" to the team, after its performance on track correlated with the numbers it was seeing back at base.

Despite the 26-year-old enjoying his and the Brackley-based outfit's strongest weekend of the season so far in Montreal, he says that the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix will be important for all the leading teams in establishing the true pecking order as the campaign reaches its half-way mark.

Since the re-introduction of ground-effects to F1 at the start of 2022, Mercedes has struggled to reach the dizzying heights it became accustomed to since the beginning of the turbo-hybrid engine era, in 2014.

With just one grand prix victory in the past two-and-a-bit seasons, the step forward the team has taken in recent weeks feels over-due, with many wondering if it is yet another false-dawn. However, Russell does not believe that to be the case this time.

"This pace increase that we've seen from us this weekend, it hasn't been a surprise to us because all the numbers back at the factory told us we're going to be finding a big chunk of performance with these upgrades," he told media including RacingNews365 when asked if Mercedes are back, before adding: "Barcelona is going to be interesting for everybody, but I'm confident we can be in the fight."

Recent Red Bull struggles

Russell claimed pole position at the Canadian Grand Prix, but could not convert it into victory, instead having to settle for Mercedes' first grand prix podium of the year.

He set an identical lap time to Max Verstappen, who looked his usual self in the Red Bull after a difficult weekend in Monaco, but as the first to set the time of 1:12.000 flat, Russell lined up first.

The Milton Keynes team was not expected to be back to completely dominant ways at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and qualifying proved that. However, Russell feels that the round in Spain will provide a more representative read on where the champions currently are, with McLaren, Ferrari and now Mercedes all closing in.

"I think Red Bull have had... it's no secret they've struggled a bit with their car these last three races," he the British driver said.

"So I think we need to see how their performance turns out in Barcelona, which is a little bit more of a conventional circuit."

Also interesting:

Max Verstappen hit back after an out-of-sorts Monaco GP, Sergio Perez floundered again - and into a controversial retirement. How much damage can Ferrari and McLaren inflict with Red Bull fighting with one hand tied behind its back, did the Milton Keynes-based team re-sign Perez too soon? After a thoroughly entertaining Canadian GP, host Nick Golding is joined by Ian Parkes and Samuel Coop to analyse all things.

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Qualifying