Russell on a F1 “season of two halves” hindered by driver errors and unreliability to date

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George Russell says his 2023 campaign has been “a season of two halves” after a mixed first half of the year.

The Mercedes driver has floundered behind his seven-time world champion team mate Lewis Hamilton since Monaco and sits sixth in the standings, 49 points behind his fellow Brit.

“Yeah, definitely ready for it (the summer break). A season of two halves. I’d say the first six races were really strong. The last six races, not so much; a few ideas why that is.”

The 25-year-old has made mistakes on track, such as sliding off in Monaco and clattering the wall in Canada, but the Briton has had some bad luck, which has cost him points.

“Quite a lot of missed opportunities this season for various reasons, some from mistakes of my own, the failure in Australia cost me a lot of points.”

Mercedes continue to chase their first win of 2023, despite Hamilton scoring pole position in Hungary.

The Brackley-based outfit has failed to deliver a podium in the last two events; Russell said the team focuses on the Constructors’ Championship, with both titles out of reach.

“If you’re not fighting for the P1 in the driver’s championship, you just want to maximise the constructors. So far, we’re doing that.”

Mercedes sit second in the Constructors’ Championship and are embroiled in a dogfight with Ferrari and their power unit customer Aston Martin.

The ground effect regulations brought in last season have been mastered by Red Bull, in stark contrast to Mercedes, who have suffered with multiple lacklustre concepts.

The infamous zero-pod design was shelved ahead of this year’s Monaco Grand Prix in favour of a more conventional setup.

George Russell's Mercedes W14 during a pit stop
Photo credit: MercedesAMGF1

Russell said the disappointing outing in Belgium all but confirmed the team had taken the wrong route with the setup on his car, as porpoising made a return to the W14.

“This weekend’s validated the direction we’ve taken with the setup in recent races hasn’t been the right one. We suffered with a huge amount of bouncing today.

“A number of teams did maybe not as severe as we did. Still, a bit of a shame to see that as a sport at the pinnacle, the majority of teams are still struggling with bouncing. I hope something can be solved in that regard in the future.”

Mercedes won eight consecutive Constructors’ Championships from 2014-2021. The German manufacturer is looking back at their previous all-conquering machines to gather inspiration to tackle the tricky W14.

“We’re working really hard on the characteristics for next year. We’re looking a lot at how the previous generations of cars were for Mercedes during the glory years and using that as a bit of inspiration as, clearly, that was one of the best cars in history. That’s given us some pointers of where we need to try and aim for.”