In Mercedes they have gone through bad times during the 2022 Formula 1 season, and it is that their car, the W13, heir to the eight consecutive world titles during the hybrid era, was not the successor they expected from the beginning. With the great step forward that they made until the summer, with several races in a row on the podium with their two drivers, the second half of the course seemed to be heading for the fight for victories, but far from them, they have been dissolving until falling by behind Alpine at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Suzuka track could have been the ideal setting for the German single-seater, with twisty sectors, although in qualifying they fell far short of the pole position pace and only garnered sixth and eighth places with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell respectively. That is why the youngest of the British duo recognized that they are some distance from the leaders, especially Red Bull, and indicates what is Mercedes’ weak point.
“We know that this year we haven’t had the most efficient car, which has a lot of drag, and this is the first high-downforce circuit where there are also long straights,” said the Englishman. “Normally on high-downforce tracks, the straights are relatively small, and there’s no chance of getting those deltas on the straight.”
“I think today we lost seven or eight tenths to Red Bull on the straights, and the circuit has exposed that weakness,” explained George Russell , who after Friday’s free practice did not think he would suffer so much. “We didn’t expect it to be so difficult, we didn’t plan to be in contention for pole position.”
“We have already learned it, and we need specific tracks to be in the fight for pole position, but we did not expect to be so far from the leader and the Alpines,” said the Mercedes driver. “It’s not the first time this season, whether it’s with an Alpine or a McLaren, that we’ve had tough Saturdays.
The eighth position on the starting grid complicates things for a Russell who is fighting for the world runner -up position, he is even ahead of one of the Ferraris, that of Carlos Sainz, and when asked if the rain on Friday affected his ranking, he said, “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that has changed much.”
“The only thing I would have done is give the other teams more information to know what the best strategy is for tomorrow, whereas now if it’s a dry race there is more than one variable in play, I think there could be a lot of options. different strategies. But, equally, if there is some rain, that is not going to make things easier,” said the 24-year-old driver.
Although they want to climb to the top in at least one race in 2022, Russell is aware that a tough winter is ahead, in which they will have to work hard at Brackley: “I think the morale of the team is quite strong considering tell how successful we’ve been.”
“We are working hard to keep everyone motivated, but the team does not need much motivation, because it is not happy with finishing where we are. They are all winners, and they want to win again,” said the British driver.
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