Russell denies complaining to ‘gain any advantage’

Date published: June 15 2022 - Michelle Foster

George Russell leaning against a desk, Mercedes garage. Baku June 2022

Accused by Christian Horner of playing up their porpoising issues, George Russell insists this is not part of “the game” as the Red Bull team boss put it, rather it is serious concern.

Mercedes struggled badly with bouncing at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, so much so that Toto Wolff questioned whether Lewis Hamilton, suffering with “killing” back pain, would be back in the car at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The Briton was seen clutching at his back after gingerly climbing from his W13 having finished fourth in Baku.

Horner believes Mercedes, and others, are playing up the issue in order to force the FIA into making technical changes.

“Tell them to b*tch as much as they could over the radio and make as big an issue out of it as they possibly could,” he said, quoted by The Race, when asked what he would do if the RB18 experienced extreme porpoising.

“It’s part of the game.”

Asked whether he believed that was what some teams were doing, he replied: “Of course it is.”

Russell has dismissed this, adamant that the bouncing is a serious problem and not just a Mercedes one.

“No one is saying this to try and gain any advantage,” GPFans quotes him as having told Sky Sports.

“You’ve got the Ferrari drivers, and even Max [Verstappen] saying how tough it is.

“You’ve either got porpoising and the car is hitting the ground or you have to run the car millimetres, perhaps one centimetre, above the ground and you’re smashing the bumps.

“So whichever way you’ve got it, it’s not great for anyone. Something will happen. There’s no doubt about it.

“But I don’t know what the solution is, to be honest. At the end of the day, the majority of us are in the same boat.”

Mercedes seem to suffer with bouncing more than their rivals, Horner telling them if it is problem they should “raise a car”, that it a “choice” that ever team has.

He added: “It would seem unfair to penalise the ones that have done a decent job versus the ones that have perhaps missed the target slightly.”

While it did appear after Spain that Mercedes had resolved their issue, it was back with a vengeance in Monaco and even worse in Baku.

“It does feel worse,” said Russell. “At the start of the season we had this porpoising and it was a slower, sort of wavey effect.

“Since Barcelona, we’ve got a different kind of issue. They’re not straightforward these cars, no doubt.

“I was pretty pleased to see the race come to a close because I was smashing the ground every single corner, every single lap out there for an hour and a half [and it was] pretty brutal.

“It’s what we’ve got to deal with and live with at the moment, and we as drivers have to expect.

“There are not going to be any short-term changes but there are conversations ongoing about what the long-term future of these regulations hold.

“Let’s see. We’ve got a lot of brilliant engineers and intelligent people in the sport and I’m sure they’ll find a solution.”

Mercedes have yet to win a grand prix this season, their best showing being P3 finishes, while Red Bull already have six wins on the board and lead both championship races.