Mercedes: F1 Qatar GP was a “missed opportunity” to secure double podium

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This weekend at the Qatar Grand Prix, spectators may have noticed the absence of Mercedes’ team principal Toto Wolff, much like his absence in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Wolff was recovering from recent knee surgery and to fill his shoes at the Losail International Circuit, Mercedes had their Driver Development Director, Jerome D’Ambrosio, and Chief Communications Officer, Bradley Lord, stepping in.

However, the Qatar GP turned out to be a difficult race for the team as both Mercedes drivers collided with each other on Lap 1. The incident saw Lewis Hamilton retiring instantly. The seven-time world champion admitted full responsibility for the incident over X, but Bradley Lord was quick to dismiss placing the blame on any individual in his post-race media session.

During it, Lord was pressed with multiple questions regarding the Russell-Hamilton collision. When asked about a “missed opportunity,” he expressed the belief that Mercedes had indeed missed out on crucial points in the race, believing both cars would have been on the podium:

“We did miss an opportunity. What might have been was a P2, P3 double podium, which would have been our equal best result since Barcelona.”

George Russell on track
Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Lord went on to praise Russell’s driving ability. Despite being in a less than ideal situation, with damage to the W14 and a sidelined teammate, Russell pushed from P18 to P4. This feat was acknowledged by the team. Lord concluded that the race marked “probably one of the best drives George has had in his time with the team.”

“He was on it every single lap. A real pleasure to watch, albeit from a very difficult starting point.”

Russell shared this sentiment, highlighting his strong performance in the race. When asked if he had the potential to challenge Verstappen, he confidently responded:

“I see no reason why not. We were on pace, if not faster, than McLaren. Seeing that Piastri finished so close to Max was really quite surprising.”

Although confident in his ability to threaten Verstappen, Russell expressed his disappointment with the 2023 season, labelling it “a complete disaster”. Nonetheless, he has set his sights on securing P2 in the Constructors’ championship over Scuderia Ferrari.