« We have a real chance against Ferrari »
George Russell expects Red Bull to take the lead in racing, but believes Mercedes can match Ferrari’s pace at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Fourth on the starting grid for the Spanish Grand Prix, admittedly six tenths behind poleman Charles Leclerc, George Russell is smiling. Adding Lewis Hamilton’s sixth place, the Briton takes stock of Mercedes’ best result in qualifying. Above all, he sees a multitude of promising signs for the future, including for tomorrow’s race, which he predicts « chaotic » and among the most complicated of this start to the season.
« Of course it’s all result-based, and it’s the team’s best this season so it gives optimism because, frankly, we didn’t have the tires in the right window. »he assures at the time of the assessment of his qualifying session. « We were always fastest in the first sector and we always struggled in the third, not finding the right balance. Ferrari seems extremely fast this weekend, but I think we have a better car for qualifying. than for the race. I’m really proud of the work done by everyone at the factory over the past two weeks and months. I think we now have a package that can be our basis for progress. »
Mercedes in a new phase
After a studious day on Friday validating the changes made to the W13, the trend materialized in the race. According to the ex-Williams driver, Mercedes has now moved on to another phase of its work, which is by nature much more exciting since it is all about focusing on performance.
George Russell driving the W13 in Barcelona.
« We know the direction we need to go, and it takes time to first find the problems, then develop the tools to fix them, then introduce them to the car to make it faster »recalls George Russell. « I think we are there. Now we know the direction, we can focus on making the car faster rather than solving problems. »
“We are really confident to be much more in the game. It was not an optimal day and we still signed our best collective result. We were always in the top 3 or the top 4, all weekend. It’s an easier weekend for us and we can’t wait to see what the next Grands Prix have in store for us. It’s going to take a few more races until we find a lot more rhythm. »
So, George Russell is impatient to fight it out, especially since he considers the chances of a podium on the Catalan track very serious. If he bets on a domination of Red Bull at race pace, he thinks his Mercedes is capable of competing with the Ferraris in the long stints.
“I think it will be a chaotic race tomorrow”he warns. « There will be several stops for everyone. Max [Verstappen] looks much faster than the others but I think we have a real chance against Ferrari, unless they found something during the night. I think we will be in the game with them. We will try to fight for a podium. Tire degradation is huge. It will be one of the most complicated races of the season, worse than in Bahrain itself in this respect, so we have to think tonight to find the best solution. »