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Why Russell has 'mixed feelings' after Sprint Shootout

A fourth-place finish in Baku's Sprint Shootout was the perfect tonic for George Russell, after the Briton had qualified only 11th for Sunday's Grand Prix.

George Russell says he has 'mixed feelings' after finishing Saturday's Sprint Shootout at Baku in fourth place, following Friday's qualifying session in which he had finished only 11th. A mistake on his final flying lap on Friday meant Russell missed the cut for Q3 on Friday, but the Briton bounced back today and said this was more representative of Mercedes' current pace. "Mixed feelings," Russell told Sky Sports F1 after the Sprint Shootout. "Firstly, very happy with the job in qualifying. P4 is exceeding our expectations. So when I got back into the pit lane, I was like, 'bugger'. I still made that mistake yesterday and showed what was probably possible, but you can't always bring your A-game, and it was so close yesterday." Russell also noted that his Mercedes W14 seems to improve as sessions and race weekends go on, but added that this was a coincidence and not by design. "It's an interesting one, we always seem to get better as qualifying progresses, we always seem to come into our own come Q3 and as the weekend progresses, so there's something to learn there," said Russell. "We don't purposefully make the car in that way, that it keeps seemingly getting better. "We've got some ideas why that may be, but I'm pleased that we turned it around today. "I improved my driving because obviously the car stays the same from yesterday. We'll just go out and try and maximise the rest of the weekend."

Sprint Shootout diluting the show?

While some drivers such as Max Verstappen have previously voiced their displeasure at the Sprint format, Russell said he was in favour of the updated process, but cautioned that too much action may diminish the spectacle for the Grand Prix itself. "Having action every single day is quite exciting," said Russell. "I hope it doesn't dilute the excitement for Sunday for the fans. "For us, it's obviously fun because you're driving flat-out more often, but I think we need to listen to what the people at home think, and ultimately we're here to put on a show for them."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying