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George Russell

Russell finds bizarre fault for Imola grid slot: 'Shouldn't have had that sandwich'

George Russell has said he is "too heavy" at Imola after qualifying in sixth for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - a result he feels would have been better without the added weight.

Russell Imola
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George Russell has explained that he is personally "too heavy" at Imola, something he feels prevented him from qualifying higher up the grid for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old set the sixth-fastest lap in his Mercedes, but believes it would have been higher had it not been for the excess weight he is carrying.

The one-time grand prix winner out-qualified team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who will line up in eighth, and feels he got the most out of the car. 

However, having set a lap time just one-thousandth of a second slower than Carlos Sainz ahead, Russell revealed had it not been for his personal weight, he would have pipped the Ferrari to fifth.

"I felt really happy today, I felt really strong throughout qualifying - P6 was the maximum," Russell told media including RacingNews365. "Always annoying when it's so close to the car ahead. I'm actually half a kilo [kilogram] too heavy this weekend myself.

"You don't think that's ever gonna make a difference but half a kilo would have put me P5, which will probably be P4 on the grid, so blaming my sandwich at lunch for that one grid position," he joked.

Taking satisfaction

Russell alluded to potentially lining up in fourth, had he managed to beat Sainz to fifth. That was due to Oscar Piastri being called before the stewards for impeding the Haas of Kevin Magnussen in Q1.

The McLaren driver had set the second-fastest time, but was summoned to the officials shortly after the session concluded. Ultimately, he was found at fault and a three-place grid penalty was applied for the infringement, dropping the Australian to fifth and elevating the Ferrari to fourth.

Despite that missed opportunity, Russell remained upbeat about a stronger Saturday, with his Mercedes team bringing the second half of the upgrade package it introduced at the previous round, in Miami.

At that event, the British driver qualified in seventh, but fell back to eighth in the race - something he will be looking to avoid at Imola.

"I took satisfaction from that lap because it felt really well optimised," he explained. "It felt really strong, the car felt great. We know where we are."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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