George Russell reveals only reason he’s still smiling with Mercedes ‘nowhere’ at Silverstone

Oliver Harden
Mercedes driver George Russell looking concerned.

Mercedes driver George Russell looks concerned.

George Russell says the energy of the home crowd is the only reason he’s still smiling after Mercedes endured a “difficult” Friday at the British Grand Prix.

Mercedes arrived at Silverstone armed with a new front wing as they seek to return to the front of the F1 grid, having been restricted to just a single win since the start of last season.

However, after a difficult FP1 session in which both Russell and Hamilton struggled with the revised W14 car, the pair were classified 12th and 15th at the end of Friday’s running.

George Russell confused by Mercedes’ latest difficult day

Russell has revealed that Mercedes were quite optimistic about their chances despite not sampling the softest tyre compound in first practice, but have been humbled after an eye-opening FP2.

He told Formula 1: “Definitely not our finest Friday. I think conditions will be different tomorrow.

“[We] need to try and get to the bottom of it because the pace in FP1 was looking reasonably good on the medium tyre, we thought we were right up there if we took the soft, but in FP2 we were nowhere so we just need to try and understand that.

“We’re seeing a small trend that when the temperature is hotter, we seem to take a bit of a step backwards. [We’ve] got some ideas why that is. Just need to dig into the data with the team and see what can do for tomorrow.”

Russell claimed that Mercedes were potentially wrong-footed after changing the setup between sessions at a hot Silverstone, with the windy conditions adding a further complication and preventing the team from getting an accurate gauge on the effectiveness of their latest upgrade.

“We definitely made quite a few changes from P1 to P2, but maybe didn’t compensate enough for the conditions or learning,” he said. “Just a difficult afternoon, for sure.

“I think it’s so windy out there at the moment for all the drivers, everybody’s speaking about it. Really challenging conditions so not a lot to take away from the upgrades as such but come qualifying I’m sure we’ll know where we stand.”

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With both Mercedes drivers racing in front of their home crowd this weekend, Russell claimed the energy of the fans is the only source of optimism in what may be a new low for the team.

He explained: “It’s why I’ve still got half a smile on my face. It gives me something to be positive about and still got the energy to have a good night’s sleep and come back stronger tomorrow.”

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