The Silverstone weekend began on a sour note for Mercedes as team members George Russell and Lewis Hamilton ranked a disappointing 12th and 15th respectively in Friday’s FP2.
Following strenuous overnight efforts, including a simulation session reported by Mick Schumacher on social media to have concluded at 2:15 am, the W14 showed marked improvement on Saturday. Russell and Hamilton secured the sixth and seventh qualifying positions, falling behind Max Verstappen of Red Bull, the McLaren duo, and the pair from Ferrari.
“Our post-FP2 analysis showed us as the 17th and 18th fastest in one-lap performance and third and fourth in race pace,” Russell commented after the session. “The only significant variable between the two was the tyres. Our overnight adjustments were indeed successful. However, it’s disappointing that we missed P3 by only half a tenth – that could have been remarkable.
Still, I’m satisfied with my lap. Lewis has consistently challenged me throughout the weekend, but I managed to remain composed. Everything fell into place during that last lap. We are in a position where we could potentially vie for P2, P3,” he elaborated.
Russell expressed his appreciation for the intensity of these sessions, both for the thrill it provides fans and the pressure it exerts from the driver’s seat. “However,” he added, “you have to trust in your team and yourself. Thankfully, we got most things right. The session wasn’t all smooth sailing; Q2 was particularly tense. But we probably finished where we deserved.”
Russell candidly confessed that McLaren’s impressive one-lap speed caught him by surprise. “They’ve performed phenomenally. I’m not quite sure where they’ve sourced all that power from, especially since their race pace last weekend was also impressive. What’s intriguing is that teams that excel on Saturdays often lose ground on Sundays. But I have an intuition that might not hold true for McLaren this time. We’re definitely in for a competitive race.
Overall, I’m positive and motivated, albeit facing some uncertainties. I think we can gauge where Ferrari stands. We might have a slight edge over them, but whether it will be enough to overtake them on the track rather than through pitstops remains to be seen. I’m expecting the McLarens to be a strong contender.”
As for Friday’s struggle and Schumacher’s invaluable simulation input, Russell shared, “I think our FP2 performance suffered because we didn’t use the soft tyre in FP1, so we went in somewhat unprepared. Mick and the team deserve much credit for their tireless work. We should also acknowledge other drivers who participated in the simulation when Mick wasn’t available.
Moreover, drivers from previous years who stayed up till the early hours of the morning have played a crucial role. Their efforts are vital to our progress. I believe we’re among the best teams when it comes to simulations. Our simulator is the most advanced I’ve ever experienced in the virtual realm, and it’s clearly been instrumental to our success.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about George Russell
What were Russell and Hamilton’s ranks in the FP2 at Silverstone weekend?
Russell and Hamilton ranked 12th and 15th respectively in the FP2 at the Silverstone weekend.
How did Mercedes improve the performance of W14?
Mercedes improved the performance of the W14 with overnight work, including a simulation session reported by Mick Schumacher to have ended at 2:15 am. This led to Russell and Hamilton qualifying sixth and seventh, respectively.
What was Russell’s reaction to McLaren’s performance?
Russell was exceptionally surprised by McLaren’s one-lap speed, stating that they performed phenomenally. He also shared a suspicion that McLaren, unlike some teams that typically lose ground on Sundays after performing well on Saturdays, may not follow that pattern in this case.
How did Russell evaluate Mercedes’ use of simulations?
Russell credited the team’s diligent simulation work, including drivers who stayed up into the early hours, for their progress. He referred to their simulator as state of the art and the best he’s ever experienced in the virtual world, asserting that it clearly pays off.
What are Russell’s expectations for the race against Ferrari and McLaren?
Russell feels positive and motivated about the upcoming race. He believes Mercedes might have a slight edge over Ferrari, but whether that will allow them to overtake on the track rather than through pitstops remains uncertain. He also expects McLaren to be a strong contender.