Russell blames mysterious handling issue for Q2 exit in Singapore

George Russell blamed a mysterious handling issue for failing to progress to Q3 in Singapore GP qualifying.

Russell blames mysterious handling issue for Q2 exit in Singapore
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Russell struggled on the tricky damp track throughout the first two qualifying sessions with a Mercedes that felt like it was pushing on when he braked for corners.

He experienced a similar phenomenon on Friday, when he went straight on at the same corner in both the FP1 and FP2 sessions, and nosed into the barrier.

"I had a recurring issue that we faced in FP1 where I kind of felt every time I got to the corner, I was kind of like picking up the throttle,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com what had gone wrong.

“And the car was just totally pushing on. I think we see this issue on the data. But it got progressively worse as qualifying continued.

"So I couldn't get around any of the low-speed corners. It was literally like someone was trying to push me from behind. So that was a real shame."

Asked if the team knew what the cause was he said: "I don't know, to be honest. As I jumped out of the car, my engineer said we see something on the data.

“But it was there from the very first lap in qualifying, but it just got progressively worse. So yeah, really frustrating considering how quick the car has been around here, and how quick our race pace was."

Russell was adamant not a throttle issue, or a case of him inadvertently touching the pedal.

"No, it wasn't anything to do with the throttle," he said. "That was the feeling, as if I was picking up the throttle into the corner.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

"Braking, it was kind of like I was picking up the throttle before the apex, and washing out. I don't know what the issue is, but we were nowhere."

Asked if the problem was the cause of his two incidents in practice, he added: "Well, I don't know. They both felt very odd to me. I don't want to point blame somewhere else.

“But it's something that I've never, ever noticed before, and never felt before. And it was clearly there in FP1 in my opinion. And as soon as I went out in qualifying something wasn't right.

"The grip was feeling really strong, every time I got to a corner, I just completely let go of the brake. And I was just going straight on everywhere. I just couldn't make it round any corners."

Russell admitted that the problem was especially frustrating as Mercedes has always viewed Singapore as one of its stronger tracks, as evidenced by Lewis Hamilton’s form in qualifying.

"Regardless of how the performance is you never want to be starting P11 in a Grand Prix when you've got the car to be fighting for victory. There's been a safety car every single time we've been here.

"It's hopefully going to be a couple of pitstops as we need to try and do something different to our rivals. But it won't be a straightforward race."

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