“We just need to keep on building some performance to it” — Russell remains optimistic about Mercedes making progress following solid F1 Chinese GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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The Mercedes driver managed to turn around his complicated weekend by ending the Chinese GP in P6. After recovering to P8 in the Sprint Race, the same position he had qualified for the Sunday race, the British driver improved his positions with a great start that put him in P6 ahead of the Ferraris.

Although he was ultimately bested by the two Scuderia cars, he beat Oscar Piastri (diffuser damage) and Fernando Alonso (wrong strategy).

Russell believes it was a fair result taking into account the actual performance of the W15, as he said after the end of the race.

“Starting P8 and moving forward a couple positions, that’s sort of where we were hoping and expecting to finish, considering the performance we have been showing.

”I think the result is probably a fair one, but we have all seen and we know that we have work to do.”

The debut of the new Sprint format for the race weekend was also brought up and praised, especially for the new Parc Fermé rules between the Sprint race and Qualifying where the teams can make changes to the car.

“It was good to have this Sprint format this weekend, we had two very different set-ups on the car Friday and Saturday morning versus Saturday afternoon and today, so lots to pick through and build from.”

In 2023, Sprint qualifying and the Sprint race was held on the same day, not allowing for the teams to work on their set-up and race trim in between the sessions.

Having the shootout on Friday and the Sprint race before main qualifying on Saturday afternoon means there is significantly more freedom for the teams to turn their weekend around.

“I think it’s been quite good for everybody to have that opportunity to try something between the two sessions. Ultimately, I can’t remember where I finished in the Sprint now but in a similar position[P8].”

Russell is confident that Mercedes is heading in the right direction with their future development, but that will take time to show.

“I think that in both races P6 is probably where we deserved to finish. So, it has been one way with the car, another way with the car, we just need to keep on building some performance to it,” he concluded.