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Why Russell sees a 'real chance' for Mercedes to beat Ferrari

Mercedes may have scored their best qualifying result of the season in Barcelona, but more was possible, admitted an optimistic George Russell.

George Russell believes more was possible from Mercedes during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, and he remains optimistic for race day. The Silver Arrows will start Sunday's race in Barcelona from P4 and P6 on the grid after upgrades appeared to uncover the cure for their porpoising problems. That put both Russell and Lewis Hamilton in the fight for pole position, with Russell able to qualify ahead of Red Bull driver Sergio Perez. But Russell admitted "it wasn't actually our most perfect qualifying session" as he spoke to Sky Sports F1. "We didn't really have the tyres in the right window and I felt like there's a lot more lap time on the table, yet we still came home with P4, our best qualifying this season," he said.

Russell talks up Mercedes' race pace

Russell's mild disappointment was then converted into optimism, with the Briton confident that Mercedes can take the fight to the Ferraris ahead on race day. Mercedes feel their car will perform better over a race distance than a single lap, despite Russell's best time being just 0.2 seconds behind that of Carlos Sainz. "Looking at the pace on Friday, we had a better race car than we did a qualifying car," continued Russell. "I think we've got a real chance against Ferrari. But Red Bull, especially Max [Verstappen], seem a little bit faster than the rest. It's all to play for." Russell added that, for the first qualifying session this season, he was free of pain-inducing porpoising. "I don't feel quite as fatigued after that session compared to what I'm used to, so I can chill out tonight, get a good night's sleep and go for it [on Sunday]," he signed off.

RESULTS 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - Free Practice 3