Russell feeling “more confident and consistent” than Hamilton after securing P7 in F1 Australian GP qualifying

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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George Russell secured a respectable seventh place in today’s qualifying session, setting up for a strong performance in Sunday’s race in Melbourne.

In a post-qualifying interview, Russell reflected on his performance throughout the weekend thus far, acknowledging that the competition has been tight on track.

Mercedes had looked very competitive in final practice. Both drivers placed inside the top 5, with Hamilton less than a tenth away from Leclerc. Come qualifying, however, things went away again.

“It wasn’t the qualifying we were hoping for,” he admitted. “But it’s so tight out there, and tomorrow there’s going to be so many unknowns.”

“I think we’ll be seeing a bit more of an exciting race here than we usually see.”

Russell has remained consistent and confident in the car this weekend, coming in third, sixth, and fifth positions in practice sessions one, two and three.

However, this sentiment does not appear to be shared by teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who claimed that the car felt as if it was ‘on a knife edge’ throughout today’s sessions. The younger Brit is in a happier window.

“From my side, I’ve been feeling a bit more confident and consistent,” Russell claimed

“We know where we need to improve, especially in the high-speed corners.

“I think we’ll be in a much better place tomorrow when we’ve got the fuel in the car and the pace is a little bit slower from everybody. But yeah, the circuit’s definitely not playing to our strengths.”

When asked more directly why Russell thinks himself and his teammate are performing so differently throughout the weekend, he noted: “From my side, I’m just focused on myself, focused on my team, and trying to maximise it. So, to be honest, I can’t really comment on Lewis’s feelings.

“Ultimately, as I said before, we’re not quite where we want to be. 

“But we had a strong qualifying in Bahrain, P3. And if it wasn’t for the problems in the race, we would have been fighting for a podium. 

“P5 in the race in Jeddah. So, P7 is not ideal. But there’s definitely a lot to play for tomorrow. And it’s all to play for.”

Considering the strategy for tomorrow’s race, Russell noted the amount of tyre degradation on the long stints in the practice sessions, as well as the factor that nobody has done any running on the C3 hard tyre around Albert Park.

“I think the soft and the medium is going to be a really difficult tyre tomorrow, but the hard is a real unknown. 

“I think we saw the medium tyre in Jeddah, which is the hard tyre this week, perform really well. But as I said, the fact is, nobody knows because nobody’s run it. 

When asked if the team are considering a two-stop strategy for the race tomorrow, rather than a presumed single-stop race, he noted: “The team on the pit wall are going to have to be really dynamic with tyre deg, and we’re going to have to feed them back a lot to let them know how the tyre’s feeling.”

With a seventh-place start on the grid, Russell and the Silver Arrows should be able to translate this into a decent race result on Sunday.