Red Bull and Ferrari are « too far ahead », according to Russell, as Mercedes finish Friday’s practice chasing the pace.

Neither George Russell nor Lewis Hamilton finished Friday’s practice session satisfied with the performance of their Mercedes W13s, with both drivers looking back on a tough day one of the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Russell finished eighth then seventh in Baku’s respective practice sessions, while Hamilton was sixth then 12th, trailing leader Charles Leclerc by 1.6s in FP2. Russell explained that getting the tires in the right temperature window was only « 50% » of the puzzle when recounting his day.

FP2: Leclerc leads the Red Bulls by more than 0.2s during the second practice session in Baku.

“It was a tricky day, we weren’t as competitive as we would have liked. Again, it’s a tough circuit to get the tires in the right window. You see with a number of drivers, their best laps came at the end of the race, whereas Ferrari and Red Bull, they seemed to be able to turn it on. At the moment they just have an inherently faster car than us and we’ve done everything we can to try and catch up to them.

“If we’re totally on top of our tyres, we won’t be able to close the gap, or at all, because they’re too far ahead. So that’s probably 50% of our problems – the rest is just the lack of performance we have right now. »

Aggressive rebounding on the straights has been a constant struggle for Mercedes this season, and Russell confirmed it still affected the Silver Arrows, although the team made some progress on the issue two races ago at Catalunya .

“There was a bit, but it’s just that the cars drive so low to the ground, it’s crazy in those high-speed corners, the car is completely flat. I think it’s the same for everyone and it’s really not comfortable to drive. »

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Hamilton echoed his teammate’s comments: « There are no other issues that have surfaced, it’s the same, pretty much the same as the last race, really. Especially rebounds. We tried something experimental on my car and it wasn’t great, to be honest, but at least we tried it and got some data on it, and now we’re going to review it and I hope that for tomorrow we will return to what we have changed.

“I can’t really tell you where 1.6 seconds or 1.3s or whatever is, it’s a long way off. It’s largely on the straights…”

The Silver Arrows sit third in the Constructors’ Championship ahead of the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and Russell will be looking to continue his run of top-5 finishes throughout the season.

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