George Russell unsure about Monza, but team ‘bringing a lot of performance’

Henry Valantine
George Russell is interviewed. Zandvoort September 2022.

Mercedes driver George Russell speaks to media in the pit lane. Zandvoort September 2022.

George Russell does not know how Mercedes will stack up performance-wise at Monza, given the change in characteristics from Zandvoort.

Where the Dutch and Hungarian Grands Prix took place on high-downforce layouts that appear to suit Mercedes’ strengths, their low-downforce setup has generally lagged further behind the speed of Red Bull and Ferrari so far this season.

Formula 1 heads to the fastest circuit on the calendar at the weekend, with Monza requiring one of the lowest downforce levels of the season to be competitive.

Mercedes appeared to have the quickest package on race pace in the Netherlands at the weekend, with Lewis Hamilton believing the car was in a “much sweeter spot” than at Spa a week beforehand.

But given how different Monza is to Zandvoort, Russell does not know how the reigning Constructors’ champions will match up in Italy.

“Yes and no,” he said when asked if he was surprised by how well the W13 went on hard tyres at the weekend.

“I think the car was really feeling good this weekend from lap one. On Friday, I knew it was going to be a much better weekend than we had in Spa. I think Spa played against us, Zandvoort probably towards us.

“So, I’m not sure how our Monza performance is going to be, I think it’ll probably be somewhere between the two.

“Hopefully closer to what we saw this weekend, but I think it’s really promising we have so much race pace.”

Russell took his maiden Formula 1 pole position in Hungary before the summer break, and took a podium last weekend as their performance gap to the top two cars has narrowed over the course of the year.

The Mercedes driver added that the team are still working to add what they can to make the W13 more competitive, as they search for their first win of the season.

“I think there’s no surprises there because these are two very similar circuits: high downforce; a lot of medium speed corners – and that’s where the car really comes into its own,” Russell said when comparing their Zandvoort performance to Budapest.

“So, you know, we go into some very different circuits in the upcoming races. But globally, we’re bringing a lot of performance to the car.

“And, as I said, I think we have a car that’s capable of fighting victory, we just need to be able to start a little bit higher up the order.”

Mercedes currently sit third in this season’s Constructors’ Championship, 30 points behind Ferrari heading into the Italian Grand Prix weekend.