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George Russell

Russell makes bold verdict on slick tyre switch after Sprint points finish

Despite being the first to make the change onto slick tyres, the Mercedes driver estimated that an earlier call could have been made.

George Russell Mercedes Austrian GP 2023 Sprint
To news overview © XPBimages

Despite profiting from the drying track, George Russell believes that Mercedes did not perfectly time the switch to slicks in the Austrian Grand Prix Sprint.

A difficult Sprint Shootout session was plagued with reliability issues for Russell's Mercedes car, and the Briton was knocked out of SQ2.

Starting from P15, Russell gained places in the Sprint, but was adrift of the points-paying places as the damp track dried.

The Briton became the first to pit for slick tyres, and a change to Soft tyres allowed the Mercedes driver to climb into the top eight for one championship point. He narrowly missed out on P7 by seven thousandths of a second.

When asked if his switch to slick tyres had been made at the optimal time, Russell responded: "No, probably a couple of laps earlier to be honest.

"But in those conditions when you're stuck behind cars it's really difficult to recognise if it's spray from the cars ahead or if it's actually a wet track.

"So it was really difficult to judge, but I was confident that the track was slicks, but obviously there was only 13 laps to go.

"I was telling my team 'if this is qualifying, I'll be taking slicks now'. And I love these conditions, I love the transition, I feel confident in those early laps to feel the grip.

"One or two more laps, we would have been three positions higher."

F1 2023 Austrian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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