George Russell admits he expected to win the race with Mercedes at this stage of the season
George Russell may be on a streak of seven consecutive top-five finishes, but the Briton admitted he expected more from the opening races of his rookie season with Mercedes.
The eight-time constructors’ champion did not have his usual dominant start to the season as the team resumed 134 points against 199 for Ferrari while they occupy third place in the championship ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Russell said he was happy with his own performance, although he has yet to claim a win.
“I think if you had told me before the season that we would have seven races and I wouldn’t have a win to my name, I certainly would have been a bit disappointed with that. But I think given the pace from the car and where we went as a team, I was reasonably happy with my performance, I think the results were maximized.
“I don’t see many races where we could have done better, but we definitely have room to improve. You constantly strive to do more when you understand the car more, the tires more. And, you know, I want to fight for this championship.
“We have to face people like Max [Verstappen] at Red Bull and obviously Charles [Leclerc] doing a very good extra job at the moment with Ferrari. But as a team we just have to keep pushing – I have to keep pushing personally. So more to come.
2022 Spanish Grand Prix: Verstappen and Russell fight for P2
As for Azerbaijan, Russell added that the low-speed Monaco circuit highlighted some of Mercedes’ weaknesses – with team engineering director Andrew Shovlin adding that their issues could be similar. this weekend in Baku.
“We encountered some of the limitations of our car at [Monaco]”, Russel said. “But we have learned a lot and we can put it to good use in the coming weeks to take another step forward. Overall, [P5 was] a decent result and I’m confident we have better days ahead of us.
Shovlin added: “Certainly it was much more difficult to run the car around Monaco than in Barcelona. In Barcelona we had shown that we had a good race pace, although we know there is still work to do to close the gap with Red Bull and Ferrari, but the challenge in Monaco is the low nature. speed, it’s a very bumpy circuit and we had trouble driving the car.
“Baku could present similar challenges; we’re working on areas to try to improve that drive, try to get the car running a bit closer to its optimal window, but we’re well aware that in addition to adding some base performance to the car, we need to make it work on a wider range of circuits. So those are all things we are busy with next week in preparation for Baku, but also in the longer term, because there are other difficult tracks that will come up.
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