Russell Labels McLaren as a “Legitimate Threat” for Second Best F1 Team

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McLaren experienced a challenging start to the 2023 season, going through three races before managing to score a point as it wrestled with getting its car to competitive performance levels.

However, thanks to a series of recent upgrades for Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, the team’s fortunes have turned around. Norris has delivered back-to-back second-place finishes, while Piastri has consistently found himself in the top five.

Although they sit 136 points behind Mercedes, currently second in the constructors’ standings, Russell is of the opinion that McLaren poses a real challenge in the race to become the second fastest team, trailing the clear leader, Red Bull.

“Undeniably, they are serious contenders for the position of second fastest team,” stated Russell, referencing the team from Woking.

He found it peculiar how Aston Martin, who were the apparent runners-up at the beginning of the year, have lost some of their competitive edge. He also noted the lack of significant progress from Ferrari. However, he recognized the considerable leap McLaren has made.

“If McLaren were not in the picture, we would be quite content with the progress we have made so far. We’ve managed to pull ahead of the midfield, increasing our lead over competitors and slowly gaining on Red Bull.

“McLaren’s recent performance has stirred things up, but it also sparks hope for potential to make substantial strides. I have faith in my team. Their performance instills confidence and hope that we can close the gap with Red Bull.

“Our main focus is not on McLaren, Aston, or Ferrari, but rather on Red Bull. We are striving to make that significant leap,” Russell added.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Steve Etherington / F1 Flow Images

Russell showcased his mettle in the previous weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, clawing his way from 18th on the grid to finish sixth. Initially, Mercedes’ strategists predicted he would finish around 11th at best.

Although pleased with his performance, Russell feels that the race results served as a reminder of the “missed opportunity” in Hungary.

“This morning, the strategists predicted that the most realistic finishing position would be P11, P7 at best if everything went perfectly,” Russell told Autosport/F1 “To end up at P6 without a safety car or VSC based on merit is a truly commendable result.

“However, it also underscores that this weekend was likely a missed opportunity. I’m confident that I could have been vying with Lewis yesterday. This circuit is one of my favorites, and our car always performs well here.

“Having two cars in the fight for P2 offers a lot more strategic options. Lewis also put in a strong performance. If circumstances had played out slightly differently, he could have been P2 as well.

“We’ll take this missed opportunity as a learning experience. On the bright side, we are gaining ground on Aston and Ferrari.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about McLaren as Second Best F1 Team

Who does George Russell identify as a serious contender for the second fastest team in 2023 F1 season?

George Russell identifies McLaren as a serious contender for the second fastest team in the 2023 F1 season. Despite their challenging start to the season, recent upgrades and consequent performance improvements have made McLaren a real challenge in the race to become the second fastest team.

What was the initial predicted position for George Russell in the Hungarian Grand Prix?

The initial prediction from Mercedes’ strategists was that George Russell would finish in the 11th position in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

What was the actual finishing position of George Russell in the Hungarian Grand Prix?

George Russell managed a significant leap from his starting position to finish in the 6th place at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

What teams does George Russell state his focus is on?

George Russell states that his primary focus is on Red Bull, rather than McLaren, Aston, or Ferrari.

Who are the drivers for McLaren in the 2023 F1 season?

The drivers for McLaren in the 2023 F1 season are Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

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1 comment

DriveFast July 26, 2023 - 12:31 am

Always rated Russel highly. the guy’s got some real perspective. And yeah, he’s right about Red Bull. they are the ones to beat.


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