Russell ‘doesn’t really understand’ Mercedes’ improved F1 pace

George Russell remains unsure Mercedes’ Formula 1 car updates are behind the team’s improved pace on Friday in Miami, warning his P1 result in second practice “means nothing”.

Russell ‘doesn’t really understand’ Mercedes’ improved F1 pace
Listen to this article

Mercedes has struggled with extreme porpoising on its W13 car through the early part of the 2022 season, leaving it unable to challenge Red Bull or Ferrari at the front of the field.

Mercedes brought a raft of updates for its car to Miami, including a low-drag rear wing and a revised front wing endplate design.

While Russell warned the updates would provide no “silver bullet” to cure Mercedes’ struggles, he managed to finish second in FP1 before setting the fastest time of the day in FP2.

Russell’s lap of 1m29.938s saw him finish one-tenth of a second clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while teammate Lewis Hamilton was a further one-tenth off in fourth place.

But Russell warned it was “absolutely” too early for people to get ahead of themselves about Mercedes’ pace, admitting he was unsure why he had been so quick out of the blocks.

“I don’t really understand it, to be honest, why we hit the ground running,” Russell said.

“We always knew ahead of this weekend that the conditions should suit us better, because we’ve been struggling a lot with tyre warm-up, even in Bahrain when the track was really rough.

“But this is the first real hot race of the season. So for sure that’s played a factor. The car’s working well, but it’s only Friday, so not getting carried away.”

George Russell, Mercedes W13 in Mercedes garage

George Russell, Mercedes W13 in Mercedes garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Russell added that he was “not too sure” if the updates had given Mercedes a better understanding on the development direction it was taking with the car, but acknowledged it had been a good day for the team. 

“When I got out of FP1, I was straight into the stewards’ office because of the pitlane incident with [Esteban] Ocon,” Russell said.

“Then straight into FP2, I was working with my engineers to maximise the set-up and leaving it to the boffins to work out if this was the direction to go.

“It’s definitely been a really productive day for us, and probably the most productive Friday we’ve had.”

Asked what his message would be to Mercedes fans, Russell replied: “What I’d say is practice means nothing, and we go again on Saturday.”

Read Also:

Hamilton was also wary of reading too much into Mercedes’ pace, and said that while the car “feels similar” with the updates, the feedback from the team had been positive.

“We seem to be quicker here, and later on they kind of explained to us that we definitely have improved in some way,” Hamilton said.

“I’m not sure where that is. But we still have the bouncing, so we haven't cured it, but I think just bit by bit with improving the car.”

shares
comments

Related video

Sainz: Ferrari F1 car still “surprising” me after heavy Miami crash
Previous article

Sainz: Ferrari F1 car still “surprising” me after heavy Miami crash

Next article

Miami GP: Latest F1 technical images from the pitlane

Miami GP: Latest F1 technical images from the pitlane
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022