George Russell was left frustrated with Mercedes’ performance in the 2022 F1 Italian GP qualifying session. The Briton felt they have a decent race car but might not have the pace to fight a Ferrari or Red Bull.
Speaking to on-site media, including Sportskeeda ahead of the 2022 F1 Italian GP, the Briton said:
“We don’t deserve to be lining up 2nd after today’s performance. It was again a frustrating session because we can’t seem to get the car in that sweet spot. FP1, the car felt great, in FP2, FP3 substantially worse. In Q1, the car felt great, [we were] a few tenths off Ferrari. Q2 was worse, Q3 was worse. But ultimately that’s been a theme this season. Lining up P2 we’ll have a faster race car, probably not fast enough to battle with Max [Verstappen], potentially [we can fight] Charles [Leclerc].”
The Mercedes driver feels they don’t deserve a front-row grid start given their pace in the qualifying session. Nine drivers taking penalties has propelled George Russell to second place alongside Charles Leclerc. The Briton, however, did not exude the confidence to hold onto the position for too long and felt they did not have the long-run pace in FP2 to back up their confidence in the car.
Commenting on the race pace of their car in Monza, Russell said:
“Similar to what I said before in FP1, things were feeling great. And in FP2 it went away from us.”
George Russell is betting on a Max Verstappen win
George Russell believes it would be difficult not to bet on a Max Verstappen win at Monza. He suggested that if the Dutchman has a clean opening lap, he could cruise to victory. The Mercedes driver feels although he’s lined up alongside Charles Leclerc, the 1.4-second gap in qualifying makes fighting a Ferrari a pointless bet.
Asked if his bet was on Verstappen winning at Monza, George Russell said:
“I think it would be pretty stupid to bet against it, wouldn’t you? He just needs to keep his nose clean in the first two laps and he’ll cruise to victory. We’ll be trying to finish ahead of Charles. It’ll be an exciting race. But today they qualified 1.4 seconds ahead so perhaps it won’t be quite like Spa.”
Although the Mercedes W13 has shown potential at some races, the team and its drivers are not confident enough with the car concept. Toto Wolff has suggested that there could be a change of direction in their car concept for the 2023 season and the inconsistencies in the 2022 car have hampered their development.
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