As Mercedes’ W14 was declared the “worst car” on the track in Hungary, George Russell says all the teams are having to deal with fluctuating performances – even Red Bull.
While Red Bull have been the team to beat, perhaps best to say team to chase, the second-best team has swapped out several times with the initial charge led by Aston Martin, while Mercedes and Mercedes have a stint in P2 and now McLaren have taken up the best of the rest position.
Their to-ing and fro-ing has allowed Red Bull to build up a 208-point advantage over the second-placed team in the Constructors’ Championship, although it must be said that is largely because Red Bull have been superior to the rest.
George Russell: I’m sure even Red Bull to a small degree
The runaway championship leaders arrived at the Hungaroring for round 11 of the season on the back of a 10-race winning streak, one that has rivals fearing a 22-0 whitewash come Abu Dhabi.
They are, however, doing what they can to prevent that with Mercedes putting a B-spec car on the track at the Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari heavily revising their SF-23 while more recently McLaren introduced significant upgrades.
That’s all played its part in the teams’ fluctuating form with Mercedes going from back-to-back podiums in Spain and Canada to what was effectively a double Q1 knock-out in Friday’s practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton 16th fastest to Russell’s P19.
The 25-year-old reckons all the teams have had major ups and downs this season, even Red Bull.
“I think that’s the same for all the teams up and down the grid,” he said. “You see Aston, at the start of the year, were really, really strong. They’ve maybe taken a small step backward.
“Same with Ferrari at certain races. And I’m sure even Red Bull to a small degree.”
Expanding on that, he added: “At some races, they were 30 seconds ahead, last week, they were three seconds ahead, albeit with the safety car, but they weren’t running away with things.
“So, we are closing that gap. It seems like the whole field is slightly more compact, which makes it exciting.
“And the small details make a big difference. As I said, we’re focused, we’ve got P2 in the Constructors’ Championship in our sights, and what we’re aiming for, but we’re still pushing for more, and try and get some race wins along the way.”