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‘Nothing substantial’ coming for Mercedes soon, says Russell

George Russell has played down hopes of Mercedes making a big leap forward in Formula 1 soon, despite its push to deliver car improvements.

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

The British driver and team-mate Lewis Hamilton have struggled to match the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull so far this season, with the W13 struggling with porpoising.

Although its strong finishing record has helped it stay in touch with the top teams in the championship, it is well aware that it needs to find more lap time soon.

While work continues on getting to the bottom of the porpoising issues that are forcing it to compromise how it runs its cars, there have been suggestions of the team bringing a raft of upgrades to help its prospects.

However, Russell has downplayed that idea. Instead, he suggests that Mercedes is likely to bring only smaller minor tweaks until it gets a full understanding of what is happening with its car.

“Unfortunately, there's nothing substantial in the pipeline anytime soon,” he said.

“It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take a number of races. I think there'll be little things, there'll be incremental steps but we recognise that our rivals are going to be doing the same, so it may not be clear to the outside world that we've made progress because Ferrari and Red Bull are going to be making progress as well.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explained at the Australian GP that the team feared rushing through upgrades, before it understood the W13’s weakness, risked it getting more confused about what the problems were.

“I think we’re just learning the car, we’re learning the tyres,” he explained. “Nothing we did this weekend has unlocked the aerodynamic potential or has reduced the bouncing. We’re still at the same place.

“And that’s why it doesn’t make any sense to bring updates, because you’re confusing yourself even more. Maybe it’s the fact the more downforce you bring, the worse the bouncing gets. So we are still learning.”

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Despite there not looking like an immediate uplift in form, Russell retains confidence that Mercedes will eventually claw its way back to the front.

“I'd love to say we've made a lot of progress but I think we've got to look at the lap times and we haven't closed the gap at all to these guys [Ferrari and Red Bull],” he said.

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“We know we've got a lot of work to do but I have faith that we can get there. We know the potential is in the car. And we've got a lot of work to do to extract that performance.

“It won't happen overnight; it won’t happen in the next race, but I do think in time we will get there. So, for the time being, if we keep picking up these results, it's keeping us in the mix.”

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