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Mercedes’ “knife-edge” F1 automobile behind Russell’s latest struggles

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Over the previous three races, Russell took a fifth and two sixth-place finishes, whereas team-mate Lewis Hamilton grabbed a podium and two fourth-place outcomes, as Mercedes battled McLaren and Ferrari for the standing of second-fastest group.

For the reason that Austrian Grand Prix weekend firstly of July, Russell has mentioned on a number of events that “issues aren’t clicking” between him and the W14.

When group boss Toto Wolff was requested about Russell’s dip in kind, he mentioned the problem of discovering a candy spot on this yr’s automobile has affected Russell.

“These vehicles are on the knife-edge, and you may rapidly fall off it and lose the boldness,” Wolff mentioned.

“And on the opposite facet, should you’re inside that hall of a candy spot – though having mentioned that, that automobile has no candy spot – however being extra in that zone of understanding what it would do subsequent, I feel there is a huge distinction.”

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Chief technical officer Mike Elliot concurred that the necessity for this period of ground-effect vehicles to be run near the bottom makes it tougher to take care of the suitable steadiness round a lap.

“I feel these vehicles are arduous to drive once they’re working near the bottom,” Elliot added.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Picture by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

“It is difficult to seek out that proper steadiness by way of the nook and it is difficult to cope with the stiffness of the vehicles.

“George is a improbable driver. I am certain George will get what he must get out of the automobile pretty rapidly.”

Russell would not consider the automobile’s design shift in Monaco has labored in opposition to him, as the sensation within the automobile hasn’t modified a lot in comparison with the way it felt firstly of the season.

His solely podium of the season, a 3rd place in Spain, got here after the revamp.

“No, I do not assume so. I feel it is simply in your rhythm,” he replied on Saturday when requested if his droop was associated to the upgrades. 

“The automobile’s feeling fairly just like what it did firstly of the yr. Some small adjustments, however nothing to do with the updates.

“Simply generally issues are simply going your method and you have that confidence. Generally you simply lose a little bit of confidence, and it has a little bit of a knock-on impact.”

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After the Belgian Grand Prix, the ultimate occasion earlier than the summer time break, Russell was feeling higher about attacking the difficulty within the second half of the season, having discovered some solutions on why latest set-up decisions have not labored out for him.

“I might say the primary six races have been actually sturdy, the final six races not a lot. [We have] a number of concepts why that’s,” he defined after ending sixth at Spa-Francorchamps.

“This weekend has validated in all probability the course we have taken with the set-up in latest races hasn’t been the suitable one.

“It positively could be tweaked.”

Further reporting by Jonathan Noble and Adam Cooper

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