George Russell says it was “incredibly satisfying” for him and Mercedes to make big wins as he qualified fourth for the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
After spending the winter closing the gap on Red Bull, Mercedes found themselves further down the road at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, slipping to the fourth-fastest team behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
But while Russell still qualified behind a car from each of those teams at Jeddah and set the fourth-fastest time six tenths off polesitter Sergio Perez, the Brit was buoyed by a much-improved performance of his W14 after completing plenty of experimental set testing on Friday in Connection with night work at home in Brackley.
“As a driver, I’m doing everything I can to help the team advance and develop, working on a simulator more than ever before and trying things out,” said Russell.
“And when you come to a track and as a team you deliver a little bit more than you hoped and expected, that’s incredibly satisfying.
“A small part of the brain is frustrated that we’re not fighting for poles and wins, but as a driver you have to tune that out and just focus on maximizing performance. And I’m incredibly happy with what we’re doing.” achieved today.
“We have a lot of good tools. We have a good simulator in the base, we have a good group of people. And I think the work that we did overnight, the work that we did this morning, we’re getting it in a really, really decent window.”
George Russel, Mercedes AMG
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Earlier this week, Mercedes decided to change course on its development path after team boss Toto Wolff said the team realized it was wrong to stick with its concept for 2022.
According to Russell, the first major upgrade from Mercedes that will reflect the new course is about four races away, but he already thinks there’s promise in “finding more performance in a week than we’ve found in almost a month”.
“I think it’s probably four races or so before we can see a little difference,” he explained. “We’re already making good strides, good progress and I think it kind of confirms the wrong direction we took over the winter.
“The fact that we probably managed to find more power in a week than we did in almost a month over the winter is to some extent encouraging.
“But we have been in this position before. It has never been easier and we just need to make sure every single box is ticked.”
Russell’s fourth place in qualifying, which becomes a third on the grid after Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s starting penalty, contrasts with a more difficult session for his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was eighth quickest after “struggling to extract performance from the race Automobile”.