George Russell: 'No reason why Mercedes can't claw this back'
George Russell believes Mercedes can “claw back” their deficit to Red Bull after a “genuine” podium at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Russell started Sunday’s 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix from fourth on the grid, the Briton’s best qualifying performance of this season.
He conceded prior to the grand prix that it would be Red Bull’s to win but firmly believed that Mercedes, having seemingly fixed their bouncing issues, could challenge Ferrari for a podium finish.
Russell was given a hand in that as Charles Leclerc retired from the lead, leaving it to the 24-year-old to defend against the Red Bulls for the race lead.
But while he lost to the Red Bull team-mates, crossing the line in third place behind Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, he was comfortably ahead of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.
Calling it a “genuine” podium, Russell is convinced Mercedes are back in the fight.
George ⚔️ Max
A cracking mini-battle 🍿#SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/MIjrc5UM2r
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 22, 2022
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “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 arrived at the Barcelona circuit with several updates for the W13, including a new floor.
That, coupled with other solutions, seems to have resolved the team’s porpoising problems.
“It’s been a season of problem solving,” Russell continued, “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 fourth in the Drivers’ Championship on 74 points, 36 behind new championship leader Verstappen while Mercedes trail Red Bull by 75 points in the Constructors’ standings.
Although he brought his W13 home in third place, it was a close call for Russell with both Mercedes drivers told to lift and coast in the final five laps as their W13 overheated.
The driver revealed it hampered him a “lot to be honest, 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.”
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