Managing only P8 in the final stage of Monaco qualifying, George Russell believes simply trying too hard cost him.
The Brit affirmed that he had a “good feeling” in the upgraded Mercedes W14 as he moved through the first two stages of qualifying, moving to within a quarter of a second of the ultimate pace set by Max Verstappen heading into the all-important Q3 session.
From there though it all fell apart a little for Russell, who will start the Monaco Grand Prix all the way down in P8 having fallen to six-tenths behind the benchmark which saw Max Verstappen clinch his first Monaco pole.
When Sky F1 asked Russell whether it was a case of making progress through qualifying only for the pace to not materialise in Q3, Russell replied: “Absolutely. Things were working really well in Q1 and Q2, I felt like I was driving really well, had a good feeling with the car.”
Where did it all go wrong then? Well, Russell said quite simply in trying to push harder to reel in the Ferraris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, he actually tried too hard and that backfired.
Nonetheless, he stated that he can be at peace knowing that he had gone for it, rather than not giving it “that little bit extra” for the bigger rewards.
“I was so close to the Ferrari and Fernando and I just tried for more and went slower by trying too hard, overdriving and paid the price, so naturally disappointed,” Russell continued.
“Equally, I probably would have been kicking myself had I been P4, P5 on the grid and not tried that little bit extra, but for sure it’s always a bit disappointing when you know there’s more potential.”
Russell also talked up the value of getting the C5 soft tyre into its “sweet spot”, which the Brit claimed can dictate up to half-a-second in performance.
Asked how the W14 felt, which has been heavily upgraded for Monaco, Russell replied: “The car didn’t feel bad, it’s always challenging around a circuit like this.
“But I think the biggest thing for everybody is getting the tyres just in that sweet spot, and that can be three, four, five-tenths of performance if you just nail it or you don’t.
“Especially on this C5, quite sensitive tyre.”
And that is how Russell believes Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was able to pull out a stellar lap which was ultimately good enough to see him starting P3 in Monaco.
“And you saw Esteban sort of came out of nowhere and clearly did a really great job and just nailed everything, and ultimately, we didn’t,” Russell concluded.
Russell’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton will be the lead Mercedes on the Monaco grid, set to launch from P5.