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Russell explains how low-fuel runs expose Mercedes F1 inconsistency

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Russell was solely ninth quickest in Q3, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton marginally higher in seventh – albeit the latter was still 0.589 seconds slower than polesitter Max Verstappen.

An eventual 0.811s deficit for Russell was partly the results of a final-sector mistake. In any other case, he reckoned he would have been 0.4s higher off to doubtlessly qualify inside the highest 5.

“We predicted earlier than the session to be about 0.1s between ourselves, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston [Martin],” mentioned Russell. “With regards to that one lap in qualifying, for those who nail it or you do not fairly nail it, that may be the distinction lately of six positions.

“I used to be on a very robust lap, 0.25s up by Flip 11 and anticipating to possibly end 0.4s forward.

“Made one small mistake and misplaced on a regular basis. That was a little bit of a disgrace.”

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The Mercedes camp has rued the inconsistent behaviour of its W15 challenger, with robust early follow working usually giving strategy to lacklustre performances over a flying lap.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Russell attributed this to the automobile’s high-speed deficiencies, a side exaggerated in qualifying when lighter gasoline hundreds change the character of corners that may in any other case swimsuit the W15.

He continued: “We all know the strengths and weaknesses of our automobile. The weak spot is high-speed corners.

“Once you get to qualifying, you’re taking the gasoline out, the corners have gotten sooner and sooner and sooner. So, the tempo naturally form of goes away from us a bit in these corners…

“We’re undoubtedly doing extra drastic take a look at objects in the intervening time to attempt to get on prime of this high-speed efficiency. The automobile is correlating properly within the low-speed and the medium pace.

“However we’re a good distance off within the excessive pace in comparison with what we’re seeing again at base. So, we have to get on prime of that.

“Once you get to qualifying and the gasoline comes out, the speeds are solely going larger, larger and better and that form of runs away from us barely.

“Whereas within the race, you are in all probability going across the corners 30km/h slower in a excessive pace, which brings it again into extra of a medium-speed nook relatively than a high-speed nook.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W15

Photograph by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“So, we have to perceive that. And it is good it has been uncovered this early within the season.”

Russell reckoned Mercedes’ struggles have been exacerbated by the early races in 2024, with the calendar docking at Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Japan.

He mentioned that fewer high-speed tracks to kick off the yr would have painted a “very totally different image” for Mercedes.

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“Sadly, simply with the character of this calendar, we have had three circuits in a row which can be all excessive pace,” he mentioned.

“If we began the season at Bahrain, Baku and Singapore, we would in all probability be speaking a really totally different image for us.”

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