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Russell sees clear chance for Mercedes to close in on Red Bull and Ferrari

With back-to-back double podiums for Mercedes at the French and Hungarian Grands Prix, the Silver Arrows have displayed signs of improvement as 2022 has progressed. George Russell has given his take on what the team can achieve going forwards.

George Russell believes that technical regulation changes coming into effect at the Belgian Grand Prix could help Mercedes to close the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari. New rules regarding porpoising will be put in place, as well as regulations regarding the skid planks under the floor of F1 cars. These changes will revolve around the flexibility of the floor's bottom plates. Russell is hopeful that the impact of this could reduce the gap between the Silver Arrows and their rivals.

Can Mercedes close the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari?

When asked how close Mercedes are to matching their rivals, Russell admitted that the recent pace of Red Bull has been hard to reach. "Max and Red Bull are cruising," Russell told Sky Sports F1 . "I think Max and Charles [Leclerc], they're on a similar level at the moment. I really feel for Charles, because he's doing a superb job and he's been on the receiving end of a lot of bad luck. "Max and Red Bull [have been] just absolutely solid, week in, week out. We've seen from the last couple of race weekends, they can just bring the car home and pick up the pieces. "But there's no doubt we're making progress. As a team, we were finishing almost a minute behind the race winner at the start of the season. Now it's 10 seconds in the last couple of races. "If we can continue on that path, we'll definitely be in the hunt. Spa is going to be interesting, with some changes to some regulations which may bring other teams towards us. "And I think we as a team have a lot of confidence in ourselves and faith that we are doing a great job, and there's no reason we can't be in that mix."

Russell expects changes will "not help" rivals

On the possibility that the changes will prevent some teams from benefitting in ways that they may be currently, Russell said: "There is no doubt that Ferrari and Red Bull have pushed the regulations in that regard, and we have sort of respected it as the regulation was intended. "But there [are] no guarantees that it would bring them closer to us. We know if it was on our car, it would make us slower. "There's no guarantee; every car is different, but it's not going to help them, that's for sure." Mercedes currently sit third in the Constructors' Championship with 304 points, 30 points behind Ferrari, who in turn trail leaders Red Bull by 97 points.