George Russell identifies Mercedes problem area after woeful Brazil Grand Prix

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes driver George Russell chases Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian GP.

Mercedes had a wretched weekend at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

George Russell says Mercedes must make sense of a “mind-boggling” Brazilian GP, blaming their awful pace on the tyres.

After a strong start to the sprint for both Russell and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes soon found themselves in a rare situation by their standards as their pace fell off dramatically through the event.

That unwanted decline returned in the grand prix, Hamilton managing only P8 as Mercedes lost out to Red Bull, McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Alpine. Russell meanwhile retired due to power unit temperature issues.

George Russell points to tyres for Mercedes woes

Russell believes that Mercedes “clearly got something wrong” with the tyres as he picked out the instigator for their decline as the races went on – admitting that on a sprint weekend, where the cars go into parc ferme conditions after one hour of practice, it can be very hard to right any wrongs.

“Mind-boggling weekend to understand,” he said. “Had relatively high expectation into this weekend, and just absolutely no pace at all.

“Same car as the last five races, so clearly we got something wrong with the tyres and in a sprint race weekend, when you get it wrong, you can’t make amends for those issues.” recommends

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Adding to Mercedes’ issues was a glaring lack of straight-line speed, Russell agreeing with the assessment that this left them a “sitting duck” as rivals pounced on the ailing Mercedes challengers.

Russell explained that Mercedes had gone with higher downforce for better corner performance, but ended up with all the pain and no gain.

“Yeah, we were definitely a sitting duck,” he said.

“It was a choice we made to run a bit more downforce and when you run a bit more downforce, you’re meant to gain the speed through the corners, keep your tyres under control and that wasn’t the case.

“So we didn’t have the benefit, we only had the negatives.

“I mean, so many question marks. As I said, it’s the exact same race car as what we’ve had since Austin, where the car has been capable of podiums every race. Even before then, Singapore, Qatar, capable of podiums.

“This is clearly a substantial, one-off event, but we need to understand what we’ve got wrong.”

Mercedes remain P2 in the Constructors’ Championship with two rounds of F1 2023 still to go, though their buffer over Ferrari has been reduced to 20 points.

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