George Russell admits Mercedes ‘have to manage our expectations’ after F1 qualifying in Miami

MIAMI — When Mercedes arrived in Florida for the 2024 Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, the team brought with them some upgrades that they hoped would improve the performance of the W15.

But following Saturday’s qualifying session for the Miami Grand Prix, that saw George Russell qualify seventh and teammate Lewis Hamilton just behind him in eighth, Russell conceded that the team is still searching for answers.

“I think we have to accept as a team, P7, P8 is where we are,” said Russell to the media, including SB Nation, following qualifying. “I think it’s it’s quite clear now what changes we need to make to the car to improve it.”

The driver then articulated the issues that the team has been dealing with the past two seasons, describing an effort that has seen Mercedes swing from one attempt at an answer, to another.

“You know, we had certain problems last year,” continued Russell. “The team did so much work to to rectify those problems. And I think we probably overcompensated and gone too far at the other extreme. So I think it’s no surprise we found ourselves in this position and, yeah, we need to try and make some changes.”

Ian Parkes, the brilliant F1 analyst, then asked Russell to elaborate on the situation at Mercedes, which the driver did at length.

“The problems you know Lewis and I faced last year was with this sort of spiteful rear end, and now suddenly we are struggling to turn the car at its low speed corners, and it’s the front [end] That’s that’s sort of washing out,” described Russell. “So I think we’ve just gone too far in in the other direction, and we need to kind of find a halfway house from what we had last year and where we ended up right now.”

Russell then admitted that change will not come overnight, and unfortunately for Mercedes, the clock is ticking.

“But I think you know the the reality of that one,” continued the driver. “When you bring an upgrade to the car, it’s got to be, you know, physically drawn out, put in the wind tunnel, , manufactured, and then brought to the car.

“So it’s not like something can be created overnight and here tomorrow, you know, you’re probably looking at it for a couple of weeks and, a couple of races time, potentially.”

When asked if there was a time frame the team was eying in terms of unlocking the potential of the W15 — or perhaps more accurately solving their current issues — Russell could not offer one, but did find a positive viewpoint.

“I wouldn’t be able to give you a a time frame, to be honest, but it’s positive that we see why we are struggling as opposed to [being lost]. I don’t think we’re lost,” described Russell. “We know we’ve got a problem with the car, and we know a clear direction that we need to go.”

Russell then ended his session on a realistic note.

“I think we have to manage our expectations and not lose our spirits because this is the race car that we have. We’re not suddenly going to arrive at the next race and be fighting for pole position,” continued Russell. “As hard as we work, as much as we would love for that to happen right now, we are the fourth quickest team on a Saturday afternoon and, you know, in the midst of a third quickest team on a Sunday afternoon. That’s the reality, and we need to build from it.”

And with that, Russell departed. A driver — and a team — still searching for the solution.

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