Russell finished sixth in Saturday’s qualifying at Monza , having been overtaken by team-mate Lewis Hamilton (fifth) and remaining more than a second (1.3s) off pole position.
But the penalties of Hamilton himself, Carlos Sainz and the two Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez make Russell move up to the second starting position along with poleman Charles Leclerc.
The Briton believes that this starting position does not correspond to his pace in qualifying, as he has not been able to “put the car in that sweet spot”, in a weekend in which the W13 seems to be inconsistent again .
“We don’t deserve to go out seconds after today’s performance,” said the Mercedes youngster.
“It was a frustrating session again because we just can’t seem to get the car into that sweet spot.
“In FP1 the car was going very well, in FP2 and FP3 it was substantially worse.”
“In Q1 the car felt very good, we were a few tenths behind Ferrari. Q2 was worse, and Q3 worse.
“But in the end that has been a constant this season.”
“Starting second we will have a fast car for the race, probably not fast enough to fight Max, but maybe Charles.”
The changing behavior of the car between sessions has left both Russell and Mercedes stumped, and he finds it “disappointing” that a solution has not been found at this stage of the season.
Russell says Mercedes is in “no man’s land” when it comes to qualifying performance, but believes the car is fast enough in the race to challenge for the podium at Monza.
“I’d love to tell you,” he replied when asked if the set-up changes were the cause of his problems.
“We have the best engineers working day and night to understand why our performance fluctuates so much over 15 races and we still don’t know why.”
“So it’s a bit disappointing.”
“We are in no man’s land on Saturday in terms of performance because we are way behind the top two and a little bit ahead of the middle of the grid. At least we have a fast car on Sunday.”