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George Russell

Russell: Norris pace was a 'big surprise' for Mercedes

McLaren brought significant updates to their car which caught out Mercedes, according to George Russell.

Russell Austria
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell was left baffled at the Formula 1 pace of McLaren and Lando Norris, after they outclassed Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring.

The Briton finished the race in P8 on the road but was later promoted to P7 after several penalties were issued post-race by the stewards, swapping places with teammate Lewis Hamilton after he earned a 10 second penalty.

While Norris has historically put in good results at the Red Bull Ring, Russell admitted that he was not expecting McLaren to be as strong as they were.

"A lot to understand, we took a big step backwards. Lando and McLaren were a big surprise for us, they clearly got it right," he told media, including RacingNews365.

"We have a fast car in certain circumstances and we just need to understand why we didn't this weekend."

"It's just getting the right balance, this is a very different type of circuit compared to one like Barcelona. Going into the last two weekends, we're were not being quite as competitive."

Sprint race weekend a factor

The W14 has been a tough car to get into the right setup window for both drivers throughout the season.

Lewis Hamilton admitted after the Austria GP that his setup tweaks caused him to struggle in the race and led to the track limit infringements.

Russell thinks the Sprint weekend format had an effect on Mercedes' ability to extract the most from their car.

"Silverstone is gonna be an interesting one for us as it's clearly circuit dependent," he added.

"In these Sprint race it can be very challenging if you don't hit the ground running, we clearly didn't.

"The pace wasn't good on Friday, we knew we were off the pace in the long run. Had it been a normal weekend, maybe the result would have been different than today."

F1 2023 Austrian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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