After an astonishing performance from both Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, the former has admitted that he believes the team can “claw back” the performance they lacked at the beginning of the season.
Russell finished third at the Spanish Grand Prix after some brilliant driving as Red Bull driver Max Verstappen had trouble overtaking him when his DRS was misbehaving. Starting in fourth, the driver’s best qualifying result, he moved up to third after spending a short amount of time in first position after Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari lost power forcing him to retire.
Now, Russell believes Mercedes is back in the fight for top spot in the 2022 season when asked about his performance:
“Yeah, definitely,” he revealed. “I feel like this was more genuine.
“I think we have probably halved the gap to those front runners, compared to the rest of the season. And I think we know there’s probably more performance to find.”
Mercedes gave the W13 significant upgrades for the weekend of the Spanish Grand Prix, most of which were to tackle the porpoising they’ve been battling all season.
“It’s been a season of problem solving,” Russell noted, “as opposed to trying to find more performance and bring more performance to the car.
“And I think we’ve now finally solved our issue. And we can now focus on bringing more performance.
“So yeah, we’re six races behind but there’s no reason why we can’t claw this back.”
Russell is currently sitting fourth in the Driver Standings, and has continued his success of never finish a race below fifth all season. But it almost didn’t finish this way as Mercedes called out to both their drivers towards the end of the race that there was a chance the cars could overheat resulting in a DNF.
This issue was identified as a water leak in the PU, plus Mercedes underestimating just how hot it would be at the GP in Barcelona.
This slowed down Russell substantially “but when I had the Red Bulls in my mirrors all I was doing was my maximum to keep them behind and it was an enjoyable, good couple of laps and I’m just pleased to be able to bring it home in P3.
“A lot of points on the board for us.”