While “baby steps” were made by Mercedes, George Russell wants more after finishing P5 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Russell was comfortably the best Mercedes driver in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, securing P6 on the grid, but it was another race where the Silver Arrows could not offer a threat to the leading duo of Red Bull and Ferrari.
Even Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was able to nip ahead of Russell in the starting order.
The race was an improvement though as Russell went on to finish P5, behind only the Ferraris and Red Bulls.
Though he slipped one place from his P4 finish at the season-opener in Bahrain, that came after a double retirement for Red Bull, so it was suggested to Russell that he and Mercedes had taken a step forward in Saudi Arabia.
But looking at the deficit to Red Bull and Ferrari in race trim, Russell was not so sure.
George and Lewis wrung absolutely everything they could out of the car tonight – with some great battles and overtakes. 👏
Unfortunately Lewis' race was compromised by the early Safety Car and we couldn't take advantage of the VSC to protect position. pic.twitter.com/n0M7jAKsH9
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) March 27, 2022
“I don’t know, because we were still on average a second behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the race then,” he responded to Sky F1.
“So we’re making baby steps at the moment, we need to make some bigger leaps, I’m sure we can do that.
“Timeline I don’t know, at the end of the day the others are continuing to improve as well, so we’re improving, they’re improving, we just need to do it at a faster rate.”
Russell spent much of the race in Jeddah with little action going on around him, but despite that, he said it was still “enjoyable” and the “most physical race” he has ever experienced in Formula 1.
That being said, he is not there to be going through all of that for a P5 finish.
“It was quite an enjoyable race considering I was all by myself throughout, pushing as hard as I could,” said Russell.
“Probably say the most physical race I’ve ever experienced in Formula 1, which was pretty cool to experience really because that’s what it’s all about really, pushing hard on a mega circuit like this, high-speed. I think all the drivers were pushed to the limit [in] that race.
“But I want to be doing this for victories, not for P5 all by myself.
“We have work to do, but maximised everything.”
The W13 was actually feeling well-balanced out there on the track according to Russell, but he just lacked the grip to do any better than P5.
“The car was feeling generally good to be honest, the balance of the car was great and it felt really really nice to drive,” said the Brit.
“We’re just lacking overall grip so there’s not a lot more we can do from that. I think that was the maximum today.”