Russell Suggests He Was 'Unfortunate' In Qualifying And Explains Why

Saturday, 20 April 2024 at 21:00
russell george mercedes steveetherington7
Mercedes driver George Russell said he was unlucky during the qualifying session for the fifth round of the 2024 season at Shanghai International Circuit.
While George Russell might say he was unlucky, he can still feel much better than his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was knocked out of qualifying in Q1 and will have to start the race from P18.
Nevertheless, the 25-year-old Mercedes driver felt like he could have achieved a better result if his progress wasn't compromised by the red flag triggered by Carlos Sainz's crash in Q2.

"The car was feeling okay out there. I was a little bit unfortunate out there in Q2 with the red flag; obviously I didn't get my lap in at the beginning and it was a really strong lap, and it would have meant I'd had two new sets of tyres in Q3."

Russell then had to put on another new set of soft compound tires in Q2, which meant he would only have one set for Q3, which put him at a disadvantage compared to other drivers who had two.

"It has a knock-on effect. It's not an excuse; it's just it could have been slightly different for us had we had the two new tires [in Q3]. Nevertheless, I think anything can happen tomorrow."

In the end, the Mercedes driver qualified in P8 behind all Red Bull, Ferrari, and McLaren drivers, along with Fernando Alonso. While Mercedes didn't seem to be the fastest in qualifying, Russell believes he might find some pace to challenge for higher positions during the race on Sunday. He added:

"We got a good reading [on the car] in the Sprint Qualifying and the Sprint Race. We wanted to make some changes."

"Time will tell tomorrow if it's an improvement or not… I think the Ferraris are a little bit ahead of us. I think the fight is with McLaren and Fernando [Alonso]."