Russell says Mercedes are “making progress” but “direct rivals have made equal progress” following F1 Imola GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Spread the love

During the Imola Grand Prix, Mercedes refused to grant George Russell his request to regain his position against Lewis Hamilton. Despite Russell’s impressive performance throughout the weekend, the team decided to prioritise the overall strategy over individual battles.

Russell, who will continue with Mercedes in 2025, pitted late in the race to secure the bonus point for the fastest lap as he was starting to be marginal on his set of hard tyres that he had on for over 30 laps. However, this strategy cost him a position to Hamilton, who is set to move to Ferrari next season.

Mercedes left Imola with 15 points, but the gap between them and their primary competitors—Red Bull, Ferrari, and even McLaren—remains unchanged.

Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

In the media pen, Russell shared his thoughts on the race and the team’s decisions. When asked about the late pit stop, he said, “Yeah, I’m not too sure of the reason. I need to talk to the team, but I think we were slightly concerned with the tyre.

“At the end of the day, as a team, we got one extra point. Obviously, I lost the position to Lewis, but it’s not something I’m going to be talking about tonight, to be honest.

“So yeah, it was a bit of a lonely race for us.”

Reflecting on the gap to the front runners, Russell added that the three main teams behind Red Bull Racing have all closed in on Max Verstappen in recent races, although it’s clear Mercedes is still a step behind the top three.

“To be honest, I think ourselves, Ferrari, and McLaren have closed the gap on Red Bull and pulled away from the midfield.

“So we are making progress; it’s just our two direct rivals have made equal progress. So we just need to keep on chipping away.

“The team are working really hard to bring performance, and that’s all we can do for the time being.”

Mercedes’ decision to hold position has sparked conversations about team dynamics, especially with Hamilton’s impending move to Ferrari. The team’s strategy appeared to prioritise overall points and car performance over individual driver standings.

This decision might reflect Mercedes’ long-term vision, focusing on steady improvements and ensuring their drivers’ collaborative effort towards securing the highest possible team ranking.