Salvaging another double points-haul in Saudi Arabia, George Russell says Mercedes “can’t walk away being pleased with that” as the team has loftier goals.
Arriving at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for round two of the championship, Mercedes had hoped that the characteristics of the circuit would suit their car after all Lewis Hamilton won the race by more than 20 seconds last year.
It was not to be.
Hamilton struggled more than Russell, the seven-time World Champion dropping out of Saturday night’s qualifying at the first hurdle. It was his first Q1 exit since 2017.
Russell made it through to the pole position shoot-out, qualifying P6, and raced his way to fifth place.
It was a lonely race for the 24-year-old, who was 20 seconds behind the battle for the podium and 20 ahead of sixth placed Esteban Ocon.
“P5 was the maximum but the car actually felt very nice to drive,” Russell told F1 TV.
“We know what we are lacking and that is downforce.
“I think we got the car in a nice window this race and was pushing the car as hard as I could.
“That was probably the most physical race I’ve experienced in Formula 1. It was cool to have the body pushed to the limits, that concentration throughout 50 laps on a street circuit like this at high speed.
“But I want to be doing this fighting for victories, not P5 all by myself.”
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 29, 2022
Hamilton rescued a point in P10.
It was by no means a result that Mercedes could be happy with with Russell saying everyone at the team is working hard to try to rectify the situation.
“You always want to take the positives from a difficult situation but we are not here to settle for that, we can’t walk away being pleased with that.
“We know that we maximised the result on this given occasion but every single person back at Brackley, back at Brixworth, wants more, the team wants more, I want more.
“We’ll keep pushing until we close that gap.”
Despite their troubles, Mercedes are second in the Constructors’ Championship, behind Ferrari and ahead of Red Bull.
They were, however, 40 points behind Ferrari after just two races.
Planet F1 Verdict
Russell not racing to finish P5
George Russell has said he wants to be "fighting for victories, not P5 all by myself".