Toto Wolff puts forward explanation for George Russell struggles

Sam Cooper
Mercedes driver George Russell during FP2

George Russell struggled to find his groove on the soft tyre.

Toto Wolff believes Mercedes need more “data points” before they can conclude that the B-spec W14 is more suited to Lewis Hamilton than it is to George Russell.

Since Mercedes brought major upgrades to the W14 in Monaco, the form book has swung dramatically in Hamilton’s favour.

Russell has finished ahead of Hamilton on just one occasion and while the seven-time champion came within the top four of the Dutch Grand Prix FP2, Russell was down in 14th.

Tyre swap reason behind George Russell performance says Toto Wolff

As to why Russell struggled so much more than his team-mate, team boss Wolff put it down to a switch to the soft tyre.

“I think on the first run with the medium compound, he was very competitive,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1. “And then putting on the soft, he wasn’t any more so I wouldn’t make too much of this today. I think tomorrow we will see.”

Russell’s inability to perform on the soft does not bode well for Saturday’s qualifying with the Brit having out-qualified his team-mate just once in the last seven races. recommends

F1 results: FP2 timings from Dutch Grand Prix practice (Zandvoort)

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As for if the Mercedes car is now more suited to Hamilton, Wolff wanted to wait before making an assessment, suggesting the nature of the next three tracks are “totally different.”

“I think we must wait now [and see] how this pans out and we have more data points,” the Mercedes CEO said. “This race and then Monza and Singapore, that’s three totally different tracks.

“[After that we will] see whether there was a shift because of the update we introduced.”

While the upgrades could have spelt bad news for Russell, it is good news for Hamilton who was beaten for pace by only Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on Friday.

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