George Russell believes that the Mercedes is “a faster race car than Ferrari” at F1 US GP

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The 2023 US Grand Prix Sprint Race began on the back foot for George Russell; facing a grid penalty for impeding Charles Leclerc in the shootout, he had to start his race from the eleventh position.

George Russell
Photo credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

The British driver’s race started well as he gained three spots on lap one, but it took a turn when he was involved in an incident with Oscar Piastri. Russell’s pursuit saw him make a move on Piastri, resulting in an investigation by the stewards. The 5-second penalty followed as he clearly overtook off the track on the exit of turn 15.

Russell accepted it gracefully, saying: “I think it was a fair penalty. To be honest, I knew it was; Oscar had the right to push me off; I was hoping he didn’t, but by that point, I sort of committed to it, and I thought what will be will be, and ultimately, the five-second was fair.”

Despite the setback, Russell continued to push hard, hoping to make up for the penalty. He was locked in a battle with Carlos Sainz, who was on a different tyre strategy with his softs. Russell explained, “It was a shame I couldn’t get past Carlos because I thought I could have pulled the five seconds to Gasly, but in the end, it’s been a scrappy day in the stewards twice, hoping for a cleaner day tomorrow.”

When asked if he was surprised to not be able to pass Sainz on his deteriorating softs, he said: “I was, to be honest; the thing was the two corners he was quicker than me were the two corners leading onto the back straight, which is the main overtaking opportunity.

“I had the one chance into turn one, made a bit of a mess of that; it was really challenging braking on the inside there, but as I said, he was just quick in the right places.”

Looking forward to the race, he expressed his optimism about the car’s performance, adding: “I think it will be slightly easier, having pit stops, and I think we have a faster race car than Ferrari.”