Russell hopes Singapore F1 GP will show "validation" of Mercedes W13 work

George Russell is hoping that this weekend’s Singapore GP will be a “validation” of all the work his Mercedes Formula 1 team has done to understand the W13's bouncing tendencies.

George Russell, Mercedes

The car has been notoriously tricky on bumpy circuits, and despite extensive resurfacing work at the track teams are expecting to see issues this weekend.

However Russell believes that Mercedes now has a better understanding of the car, and that Singapore will be a good test of that.

Asked what were the factors that potentially worked for and against the team, Russell suggested that the circuit layout will be favourable.

"I think the factors in favour are the high downforce set-up, our car seems to work better on the higher downforce [circuits]” he said, “[plus] our competitors, the fact that Red Bull are very, very efficient with their straight line speed, and here that doesn't come in too much of an effect. So their advantage will be less.

“But the ones that go against us are the bumpiness of this circuit. We clearly struggled with the street circuits this year in Monaco, Azerbaijan, Montreal. We have made a lot of progress in that regard.

“But this will be sort of validation if the steps we've made on that ride have translated into performance.

“I don't think it will be necessarily Zandvoort/Budapest levels of performance this weekend, but I'm pretty confident we will be more competitive than we saw in Monza and Spa.”

Russell says the team has also made progress in understanding how to get the best out of the Pirelli tyres in qualifying.

“Certainly it's been our biggest challenge,” he said when asked by Autosport/ about the issue. “Clearly on Saturdays our performance swings are substantial. That's probably the only element of our race car that we're still struggling to get a handle on.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

“We probably have an understanding compared to the midfield teams why they seem to be more competitive than us on a Saturday and less so on a Sunday, but comparing with Ferrari and Red Bull, we still struggle to understand how they do sometimes such a great job in qualifying, and we're struggling a little bit more.

“But every single race is an opportunity for us to continue to learn. And ultimately, I think when we have a car that we as drivers have more confidence in, that will also give us a couple of extra tenths that can just be that difference at the front of the midfield to be right in the fight with the front pack."

Russell’s team mate Lewis Hamilton acknowledged that historically Singapore has not been an easy venue for Mercedes, particularly when racing with its longer wheelbase designs.

“I would definitely say that it was a track that we had struggled at quite a lot,” said the former world champion. “I don't think it was aero-based, I think it was probably more ride quality, that we just hadn't been as good as some of the others had been.

“We'll discover if that's a true philosophy this weekend, or a true theory this weekend. I think they've resurfaced some parts of the circuit, so hope hopefully it's not as bouncy as before.”

Regarding prospects for the race he added: “We hope that the car works better here. But as I said, it really depends how bumpy it is. And the bumps often set the car off and upset the car in a lot of instances.

“We do know it's going to be bumpy. Maybe the car will be fine. Maybe it won't. So I have no expectations at all, just going to try and have the best weekend with whatever we're faced with.”

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