Russell Insists Mercedes Is Yet To Show 'True Performance' In Race

Wednesday, 13 March 2024 at 09:00
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George Russell discussed questions about Mercedes's inconsistent performance after the second weekend of the season.
After the failed race in Bahrain, hindered by overheating power unit issues, the team principal of the Mercedes F1 team suggested his team wasn't able to show their true pace.
During that race, Silver Arrows looked like the third-fastest team. So, coming into Saudi Arabia, there were many questions about where the Mercedes car could rank in the pecking order.
However, the second weekend of the season went maybe even worse than the first one. George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in sixth and ninth place. The 26-year-old told the media after the race:

"We're still really trying to understand this car because we have shown true performance at points over the last two weekends."

While Mercedes has shown great potential over the last two weekends, it crucially wasn't when it mattered. The number 63 driver named the instances:

"FP1, straight out of the box, we were top of the timesheets and always in the top three. FP2, P2. Then, both weekends, the pace just falling away from us."

"That hasn't been our competitors getting faster; that's been us getting slower. So, we need to understand why that is. But it's fine margins now."

Right now, the pecking order seems to be as follows: Red Bull is first, Ferrari second, and then McLaren, Aston Martin, and Mercedes are very much equal.

"It's so close with ourselves, McLaren, Aston. Charles [Leclerc] is just a smidge ahead. We just need to tap into it a bit more."

Asked about the reasons behind the W15's performance issues, Russell admitted he doesn't have answers at the moment. He added:

"I think there's more to it. It's so complex these days. These cars are so complicated. When you couple that with the tires, the tires are very difficult as well. Right now, I don't have the answers."

Mercedes now has a one-week break between the second and third races of the season to figure out what's wrong. Whether that will be enough to challenge for the podium in Melbourne remains to be seen.