George Russell has hit back at those who have viewed Mercedes’ season as a failure, as the team still chase their first win of the year.
With 12 races gone in 2023, Mercedes are yet to win a race, with the team also struggling to add a second victory to their tally since the change in chassis regulations at the start of 2022.
Since that change, Mercedes’ sole victory came courtesy of Russell at last year’s Sao Paolo Grand Prix, while the potential for a win in 2023 looks quite low as Red Bull enjoy even greater dominance than last year.
George Russell: P2 is far from a failure
While Mercedes currently trail Red Bull with less than half the points tally of the Milton Keynes-based squad, the W14’s step forward over the middle section of the year means the team are running in a reasonably comfortable second place.
While Mercedes haven’t won a race so far this year, the Brackley team are far from alone in that failure, as Red Bull have won all 12 races held.
Additional reporting by Sam Cooper.
Having started the year behind Aston Martin and struggling to keep Ferrari behind them, Mercedes consolidating second place means it’s impossible to view the year as a failure, according to Russell.
Asked whether he feels his team are best placed to snap up a win should Red Bull make a mistake, Russell agreed.
“Yeah, absolutely. I feel like, as a team, we’ve gone strength to strength this season,” he told media, including PlanetF1.com on Thursday in Zandvoort.
“Obviously, there were a lot of expectations upon us going into the season, and perhaps [that’s] why people are calling our season a bit of a failure.
“Of course, it’s far from where we wanted to be because we want to be fighting for championships, but to call P2 in the championship, 50 points ahead of P3 at the moment, a failure is far from reality.
“So we know we’ve got a lot to improve. We’ve made really good progress. I think going into the second half of the season, we can be there to hopefully pick up any pieces that fall our way, but we just never know.
“I think, last year, we had the mentality that Singapore would probably be our only opportunity in the second half to win a race, and when we didn’t win in Singapore, it was a bit of a disappointment. There were no expectations going into Brazil and we came away with a victory there. So we treat every race as an opportunity.”
Pressed on whether he feels the W14 is now the second-quickest car on the grid, Russell said he feels its more his team’s consistency that is ensuring Mercedes retain second spot, rather than outright pace.
“It’s really close between us, Aston Martin, and between Ferrari and McLaren at the moment,” he said.
“I think we’re probably the ones that are consistently there fighting between the second and third fastest team, but the team have done a really great job to maximise the points and, as I said, delivering week in, week out, so I’m not gonna sit and say we are the second fastest team. I’m not too sure, but I think we’re in a really strong position to secure that P2.”