Russell: Mercedes “confused” by F1 pace swing between qualifying and races

George Russell admits that his Mercedes Formula 1 team is “confused” by the qualifying lap time delta to pace-setting teams Ferrari and Red Bull at the French Grand Prix.

Russell: Mercedes “confused” by F1 pace swing between qualifying and races

For much of this season the trend has been a big gap in qualifying between Mercedes and its rivals, and then a much closer comparison in the race.

That continued in France where the quickest W13 of Lewis Hamilton was 0.9s off pole man Charles Leclerc in fourth place, while race pace has looked much more encouraging.

Russell himself qualified sixth at Paul Ricard, behind the McLaren of Lando Norris, having made a mistake on his final lap.

"The start of Q3 was good, my second lap wasn't quite there, I made a bit of a mistake,” he said.

“P6 not the end of the world. But I think we're a bit more confused about the pace delta to the front.

“I think we're the only team who closes the gap in race pace compared to qualifying pace. It's the right way around for it to be, that's how we prefer it. But obviously it's put us in tricky spots for a lot of this year."

In Sunday’s race both Mercedes drivers will benefit from the penalty for Carlos Sainz, who starts 19th.

Russell was optimistic about prospects for France before the weekend, with the track’s smooth surface and fast corners expected to favour the W13, and he remains upbeat about the race.

"I think there's definitely optimism because we feel like we do have a direction to keep chipping away at, and we do think we will make good progress. Qualifying is the day where you sort of you have that clearest case comparison to your rivals.

“And it's clearly a bit difficult when we see how far we were from pole today. But I think tomorrow is the day we need to judge. I do think we will probably have a faster car tomorrow than we've had on average this season. And hopefully, it's a totally different feeling and story this time tomorrow than it is currently.

“The high fuel pace was relatively competitive, we should have a chance against Checo [Perez].

"And even if Carlos was there probably would have had a chance against Carlos. But Max [Verstappen] and Charles are a step ahead of everyone else at the moment."

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted after qualifying that the team “couldn’t figure out” where it was losing performance, which is why the team tried different wings during practice, and Russell admitted that created a compromise.

Read Also:

"I think when you're so far off the pace you want to try everything you can to try and close that gap,” he said.

“And maybe that's a lesson for us that we just need to almost focus on ourselves and really try to focus on getting the most out of the car, rather than experimenting too much.

“But we need to experiment at this moment to see what works and what doesn't work. And yeah, a little bit tricky at the moment. But let's see after tomorrow.

"I think I obviously need to get past Lando quickly. The fact that we've got fast a race car is good. I think it's going be very difficult race tomorrow with the temperature. “

shares
comments

Related video

Norris: Splitting Mercedes in French GP qualifying "a surprise"
Previous article

Norris: Splitting Mercedes in French GP qualifying "a surprise"

Next article

Alonso: F1 gap between McLaren and Alpine in France "worrying"

Alonso: F1 gap between McLaren and Alpine in France "worrying"
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022