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Russell "needs to understand what's going on" after Austria F1 Q2 exit

Mercedes driver George Russell says he "needs to understand what's going on" after being dumped out in Q2 for Formula 1's Austrian Grand Prix.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

With margins tight on the short Red Bull Ring, Russell qualified in 11th when his best Q2 time was deleted for crossing the track limits in the final corner, a recurring theme in qualifying for Sunday's grand prix.

But even without having laptimes taken away Russell appeared to be struggling for pace, which he doesn't have an answer for.

"Just not quick enough today," he said. "I think from the first laps in practice I just hadn't got the right feel with the car.

"It's difficult when you go to sprint race weekend, you don't have a lot of time to make some changes. Let's see what we can do overnight into tomorrow.

"Obviously, P11 is not the best starting position but we've had some good results from further down the field so far this year, so all is not lost.

"The tyre deg looked pretty bad in practice, so probably looking at two stop race.

"But yeah, we need to understand what's going on at the moment. We're struggling a bit, especially on Saturdays."

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton did advance to Q3 and finished fifth behind the McLaren of Lando Norris, acknowledging the Red Bull Ring didn't prove to be a strong circuit for the Silver Arrows as he conceded 0.428s to polesitter Max Verstappen.

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in the garage

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in the garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

"Today was a very difficult session," the seven-time world champion said. "Not an easy circuit. Our car in general in the past has never really suited this circuit and it shows that again today."

Both drivers will get a second chance on Saturday when another qualifying sessions sets the grid for the sprint race of the season, which is no longer connected to Sunday's main grand prix.

"We're just going to try and see if we can do better in sprint qualifying tomorrow, depending on the weather and the temperatures," said Hamilton.

"And then from fifth in the race on Sunday, that's a good, strong position to start from.

"I think last year I started further back and it was a tough race, so I'm hoping we can have a better race on Sunday."

Team boss Toto Wolff said Mercedes' Friday performance was "underwhelming" after car upgrades propelled both the Ferraris and Norris' McLaren ahead of Hamilton and the Aston Martin cars.

"Overall underwhelming, I think we came with expectations that we would be fighting for P2, P3 with the Ferraris or the Aston Martins and we underperformed," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"You see that the time gaps are not huge. We're talking two or three tenths up and down and it makes a big difference.

"We're bringing something to Silverstone and hopefully it has an impact like it had on the McLaren and the Ferraris today."

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