George Russell aims for a podium at the F1 Dutch Grand Prix after a “great” qualifying session

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Ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix, Mercedes expressed their optimism over their performance, and after Lewis Hamilton’s shock elimination in Q2, George Russell managed to score the third position for tomorrow’s race start.

George Russell
Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

The British driver hasn’t performed especially well in qualifying since Monaco, when the team brought a big update to the W14. However, he overcame the pitfalls of Q1 and Q2 in tricky weather conditions and made the most of his Mercedes at the decisive moments at the end of Q3.

He expressed that the break was needed for him to charge his batteries and come back with “a fresh set of ideas”, saying: “A great session. Happy to be here in P3. Quali was one of my strengths for the past year; it just been going a little wrong recently.

“It was good to have that break. Came in with a fresh set of ideas, good reset, and what a great place for tomorrow to fight for a podium.”

To clarify his drop in performance, he spoke about the team’s thought process that led him to lose tenths in performance, adding:

“Maybe myself and the team around me were overthinking things, chasing the last milliseconds but not focusing on the tenths we could lose in traffic in qualifying or not getting the tyres in the right window (..), I think a lot needs to be said about being in the right frame of mind.”

This weekend’s practice sessions suggested Russell was struggling over a single lap; when asked about the potential reason behind this fluctuation, he added:

“We just made a bit of a mistake, didn’t get the tyres in the right window. But we knew the potential is there in the car; the race pace was really strong, so we knew that we needed to do the simple things right and the performance would come.”

George Russell
Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Mercedes is usually stronger in race pace than single-lap speed which made questions rise over the potential they can achieve, but Russell affirmed that the Mercedes can’t aim to fight Verstappen.

Instead, they are focusing on securing a podium finish. Russell has now stood on the rostrum since Barcelona.

“The final lap was pretty okay – we know that we struggle to get temperature into the tyres when it’s wet or the crossover to slicks, but that also turns into a strength on Sunday.

“I’m sure Max will enjoy his usual Sunday drive tomorrow, but from P3, hopefully, we can have a good fight with Lando, Alex and the rest.”