George Russell “a little bit disappointed” after finishing P8 in Azerbaijan GP

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The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the venue to test Formula 1’s new sprint format. This meant that practice one was to take place on Friday along with qualifying for Sunday’s main race. Subsequently, on Saturday the qualifying (sprint shootout) for the sprint race would take place, while the latter mentioned would also take place in the afternoon. Finally, the main race took place on Sunday. The results were split for the teams.

On the one hand, Red Bull’s dominance prevailed in the races, with Sergio Perez winning both the sprint race and the main race, while his teammate and two-time world champion Max Verstappen finished P3 in the sprint race and P2 in the main race. Ferrari managed to take pole position for both races, however they failed to take victory. Nonetheless, Charles Leclerc got his first podium so far this season. One team that remained behind the Italians and British was Mercedes.

During the sprint race, George Russell managed to overtake Max Verstappen in turn 2 of the first lap. However, the Dutchman breezed by on a restart later.

On the other hand, in the main race, the pace of both Mercedes was okay. Seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton, finished in P6, with George Russell in P8. The driver of the number 63 car was objective with his weekend, commenting that it was not the best they could have gotten from it.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

“A little bit disappointed on myself. I made a really good start. We had good pitstops to get ahead of Stroll. And then I just made a mess on the restart.”

“I defended from Lance, almost went into the back of Fernando, ran wide, got my tyres dirty and ultimately that’s the reason that Lance and Lewis went by,” George Russell commented.

The British driver managed to gain one extra point as he claimed the fastest lap of the race during the 51st lap. He was 0.862 seconds faster than reigning champion, Max Verstappen, as the Dutchman also tried to get that extra point for the fastest lap.

“I’ll take the extra point but, whether we would’ve finished P4 or whether we would’ve finished P8, as we did, it’s far from P1 and P2 so we got a lot of work to do,” the British stated.

If we remember, when George Russell entered the pit lane, so did Lance Stroll. Baku has a peculiar pit lane entrance, as the cars are coming at very high speeds and have to go through a chicane to slow them down before entering the pit lane. Just after going through this chicane, which is already in the pit lane, George Russell overtook the Aston Martin driver.

Many people doubted if this had been a legal manoeuvre, however, the stewards decided it was absolutely fine.

“It was obviously a bit questionable, but it was quite satisfying to get ahead. Good pit stop by the guys, it was very close between us and Ferrari and Aston Martin [in the pit stops].”

“Small differences can make a big change in terms of results as we saw yesterday [during the sprint race], and as we saw in Melbourne.”

Next round it the Miami Grand Prix just one week after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. This is physically demanding for all the drivers. We all know that a free practice is way more “relaxed” than a qualifying session or even a race, and last weekend was a very demanding one for the drivers.

On Friday, they needed to maximize their results as the qualifying session for the main race took place. On Saturday, another qualifying session (but now for the sprint) took place, and the sprint race itself as well. And finally, the main race was held on Sunday. This is how he is feeling after a very demanding weekend in Baku.

“Travelling 15 hours on a flight from Azerbaijan to Miami. We know that Stefano [Domenicali] and Liberty [Media] are working on that [avoiding back-to-back race weekends] for the future. It’s not as simple as it may seem.”