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Russell reflects on 'huge progress' at Mercedes: I believe in the entire team

Mercedes driver George Russell has praised the team for their turnaround during the 2022 Formula 1 season, and for sticking with their unique car design.

George Russell says Mercedes need to "keep an open mind" on their Formula 1 car design, but has praised the "huge progress" made in 2022. Mercedes entered the 2022 season as consecutive eight-time World Constructors' Champions, but have struggled with their W13 contender for the new ground effect technical regulations. Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton were victims of severe porpoising – or bouncing – in the early races, with Hamilton injuring his back during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, so bad was the phenomenon. This led to Red Bull and Ferrari streaking ahead in races, with the two scooping all 13 race wins, nine vs four respectively, in the first half of the season. However, Mercedes have edged closer to the leaders as they have understood their package and how to make it work – evidenced by Hamilton and Russell finishing second and third in both France and Hungary – with Russell claiming a maiden F1 pole in Budapest. Russell has praised the team for clawing their way back to the front of the grid, but still issued a warning.

Russell sees things going "in the right direction" at Mercedes

"I think we need to just continue to keep an open mind, [and] I don't think changing car concept is going to make us go any faster, and maybe to the contrary, to be honest," Russell explained to media including RacingNews365.com in Hungary. "Sometimes you've just got to stick to the process and keep on pushing. And that's difficult to do when you're off the pace and things don't seem to be going your way. "But personally, I believe in every single person within our team. I think we're making huge progress. "We saw with the job we did [in qualifying], you saw with the pace that both of us showed [in the race]. At the start of the season, we were finishing races a minute behind first position, [and at] the last two races we've been within 10 seconds. "I think it's definitely going in the right direction."

Hamilton echoes Russell's Mercedes thoughts

Hamilton also believes Mercedes are headed back towards the front, and that the W13 is capable of challenging for Grand Prix victories in 2022. While Russell is searching for his maiden F1 win, Hamilton is looking for number 104, but a win in 2022 would keep one of his records intact. He is the only driver to have won at least one race in every year in which he's competed in F1 – his last coming at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. When the season resumes, there will be nine chances for Hamilton and Russell to win, starting with the Belgian Grand Prix on 28 August, and ending with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 20 November.

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