George Russell reveals Mercedes question about rivals amid Monaco ‘turning point’ hope

Michelle Foster
George Russell, Mercedes, ahead of Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix.

George Russell, Mercedes, ahead of Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes.

George Russell has denied Mercedes are losing pace as a track ramps up over a race weekend, believing it’s more of a question of why aren’t their rivals “quick on a Friday”.

Mercedes were right up near the front of the timesheets in Friday’s practices for the Monaco Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton setting the pace in FP1 before finishing the day second overall behind Charles Leclerc.

George Russell questioning ‘why our competitors aren’t quick on a Friday’

A day later though, the team-mates were fifth and seventh in qualifying with Russell ahead of Hamilton as he raced out to a 7-1 head-to-head advantage over his compatriot.

But almost three-tenths down on the pole position time set by Leclerc, Russell was asked by former F1 driver Mark Webber if Mercedes are losing speed when the ‘track ramps up’.

He told the Channel 4 pundit: “To be honest, we’re questioning why our competitors aren’t quick on a Friday.

“Our strategists go through the numbers and they actually always tell us we’re around P5, P6 when they look at the data, the fuel loads, the engine modes, and we always end up a little bit higher on the order than we probably deserve to be.

“So to be fair to our strategists, they always say to us, ‘Look we may have finished the session P2 or P3 but our true pace is P5 or P6’.

“So it may seem like that on the face of it, but the truth is we’re pretty consistent.”

Breaking down the F1 2024 team-mate head-to-head battles

👉 F1 2024: Head-to-head qualifying record between team-mates

👉 F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

In a race where the top ten finished as they qualified, Russell believes Mercedes with their new spec front wing have taken a step forward.

“I’m feeling really happy with the car, to be honest,” he said. “This weekend I had the new front wing on my side and it was performing really well.

“I think this was the most competitive weekend we’ve had all year.

“Obviously we all look a bit flatter based on Red Bull’s sort of lack of performance, but I really hope it’s going to be a turning point for us.”

Mercedes, who have yet to feature on a Grand Prix podium this season, are fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with 96 points while Russell sits P7 in the Drivers’ standings where he is 12 points up on Lewis Hamilton.

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