George Russell, Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Russell suspects improved pace of upgraded Mercedes is largely down to track

2022 Miami Grand Prix

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George Russell believes the track and conditions in Miami are responsible for Mercedes’ competitive start to the weekend.

He set the second-quickest time in the opening practice session, lapping seven-hundredths of a second off Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Russell went one better in the second session, heading the times.

Mercedes has brought a package of upgrades to its car this weekend. While the team believe that has made some improvements, Russell suspects the combination of slow corners and high temperatures at the Miami circuit also suits them.

“We always knew ahead of this weekend that the conditions should suit us better,” he said. “We’ve been struggling a lot with tyre warm-up, even in Bahrain when the track was really rough. But this is the first real hot race of the season.

“So for sure, that’s played a big factor. The car is working well but it’s only Friday, I’m not getting too carried away.”

However Russell admitted the ‘porpoising’ problem which has affected the team all season does appear to have improved this weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: Miami Grand Prix practice in pictures
“We know that it will always be there, but maybe it’s working at a lower range compared to where we were previously,” he said.

“For sure in that high-fuel run I was feeling it and it didn’t seem to be any better. But if we can manage to do that with the car lower to the ground then obviously we will see the rewards.

“But as I said, you generally have races that sort of go in your favour, some races that go against you. I think Imola obviously wasn’t a strong circuit for us, but so far from what we see, the car is working well around Miami.”

Mercedes’ rivals Red Bull and Ferrari lost significant amounts of track time due to a combination of technical problems and crashes. Russell was encouraged by how much progress his team was able to make. “It’s definitely been a really productive day for us,” he said, “probably the most productive Friday we’ve had.”

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Keith Collantine
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17 comments on “Russell suspects improved pace of upgraded Mercedes is largely down to track”

  1. Well done Georgie boy we have a new star at the front.

  2. Heat + mid-low downforce levels is the sweet spot for the Mercedes car currently. The car also likes the slow speed corners.
    Heat is the issue for Redbull.
    Ferrari is the overall most balanced car which adapts the best to every kind of track and conditions.

    Things may change with further upgrades.

    1. If they (RB) won’t be able to do something about it, then they won’t enjoy competing during summer with possibly nearly 40 C temp. during some events.

      1. @Dex Nearly 40 is extremely rare, so don’t count on this kind of heat massively.
        Europe isn’t like the Middle East, after all.
        However, they need to get their heat issue sorted regardless.

        1. I think Dex may have meant the surface track temperate in this instance. You are right though, it is extremely rare to get 40 degrees C ambient temperature in Europe. RB is looking extremely wobbly this race but always produces stellar lap times whenever their car does work. Very exciting!

        2. My understanding is that Max’s overheating issue was due to debris blocking a rad. I don’t think Checo had any issues wrt overheating.

  3. The hot track temperatures (>50°C) are certainly helping Mercedes here, but they were also much more competitive on the straights, which is definitely a positive sign for them.
    The W13 seems to work very well on the softs, but not so much on the mediums as Russell was complaining about increased bouncing on his high fuel run.
    I’d say they will be more competitive in qualy than in the race, because of the tyre warm-up and the decreased bouncing on lower fuel.

    1. Wasn’t the difference rather due to running with far more fuel towards the end when they were going for race runs on those mediums @srga91

      1. @bascb
        I doubt it was just the fuel factor, because Mercedes were also less competitive on the mediums in the first half of the session on low fuel. Plus Russell was about 0.3-0.4 down on the average pace of Leclerc and Pérez on the long runs on the mediums as well, while Hamilton was struggling to even come close to Russell’s pace.
        The Mercedes still seems to be rather difficult to drive, but it’s working well over a single lap.
        The long runs were very interesting in terms of pace and consistency. While Russell was very consistent, lapping in the low 1:34s (similar to Leclerc’s and Pérez’ initial pace), he couldn’t get below that mark, unlike the two top teams who were lapping in the mid to low 1:33s by the end of their runs.
        That suggests to me that Mercedes are still lacking a bit of race pace. Not a full second like in the other races so far, but still not quite good enough to challenge RB and Ferrari.

        1. Thanks for filling me in on a bit more detail @srga91, it does look like Mercedes is closer to the top than they were last time out, but yeah, their car seems to be quite dependent on things like tyres, fuel levels etc.

  4. Its not just in terms of sportive results George adapts to the team rather quickly. He also is quick to follow the Mercedes underdog narrative

  5. This guy is quickly on his way to being the best British driver since Mansell. He’s that good!

    1. @superman
      ..completely ignoring the 7 x WDC and acknowledged GOAT, Sir LH? Unbelievable.

      Besides, Mansell was up and down in performance, moody and difficult to work with according to his engineers. That said, I couldn’t help loving him.

      I want Russell to do well but I haven’t seen enough of him going wheel to wheel to assume he’s that special.

    2. Thanks for the view from under the bridge there

    3. He’s alright but let’s not ignore that Lewis is 37 years old. An age where raw pace already has declined.

      Russell should be compared with Max, Charles and Lando.

  6. I knew they were sandbagging all along!

    1. …only it takes too long to unload so much sand.

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