George Russell, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2022

Russell laments Mercedes’ ‘best qualifying pace, worst outcome’ after crash

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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George Russell says Mercedes endured their “best qualifying of the year in terms pace” but “worst in terms of outcome” after both he and Lewis Hamilton crashed separately in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton lost the rear of his Mercedes entering turn seven on his second flying lap attempt in Q3 for the Austrian Grand Prix, crashing into the barriers and bringing out the red flag. After the session resumed, Russell himself spun entering the final corner, also ending up in the tyre wall.

Despite his crash, Russell did not lose his fifth position by the chequered flag as his rivals behind him failed to improve oh his time. Russell will, therefore, start fifth for tomorrow’s sprint race – barring any penalties – but he disagreed with the suggestion the result amounted to a “lucky escape”.

“I wouldn’t say lucky escape,” said Russell. “We need to review the crash damage. There’s nothing lucky or fortunate about making a mistake like that.

“Two things: I could have been P4, for sure, I was a tenth up on my lap and absolutely went for it because I thought there was an opportunity for third. As it turns out, probably not. But we just need to see how much damage is done. I’m sorry to the team and to the guys in the garage.”

The crashes marked a frustrating end to a promising qualifying session for Mercedes, who appeared to have the pace to potentially battle with Red Bull and Ferrari for the front rows of the grid. Russell says Mercedes have the potential to take the fight to their rivals over the rest of the weekend.

“I think we ordinarily have better race pace than we do quali pace,” Russell said. “We’re definitely there in the fight.

“As a team, probably our best qualifying of the year in terms of pace, but probably the worst in terms of outcome. That’s racing. I’m personally going through a tricky couple of races, at the moment, but we’ve got tomorrow to make up for it.”

Russell believes that Mercedes can take heart from the pace they have shown relative to Red Bull and Ferrari in recent race weekends.

“There’s definitely positive signs,” he said.

“We know that we’ve brought some things to the car. We know that Ferrari and Red Bull were probably pushing the boundaries with the planks a bit more than the interpretation of the regulation and probably all these things coming together is coming in our favour.

“Not getting carried away, Lewis was doing a phenomenal job, he was absolutely flying today. I probably went in the wrong direction with my set up for qualifying but may be in a good place for the race. I feel okay, physically, I’m just a bit concerned about the car, if we can recover it.”

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2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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6 comments on “Russell laments Mercedes’ ‘best qualifying pace, worst outcome’ after crash”

  1. It was their worst qualifying since Miami i believe…5th and 10th isn’t that bad for Merc this year. But they could have done a whole lot better.

    It was pretty weird that both Merc drivers crashed out but the probability of that happening in a session are 1.1% so not that outlandish. At least they’ve got two sessions to claw their way back up.

    1. Make that 4th and 9th…one of their better sessions.

  2. How was this their best pace? Still lagging behind red bull and Ferrari.

    1. Seems like we watched different qualifying. The one i watched had a VERY competitive Mercedes, the best showing of this year on a circuit that never suited them or their turbo.

  3. Am I the only one for finding it disrespectful for the fans to cheer when drivers crash? In my twenty years of following F1 and having went to many races, I don’t believe I ever witnessed that happen. I was shocked seeing it happen yesterday and expected a lot of comments about it. Yet, I have seen none… In my opinion it has no place in our sport. These drivers put their lives on the line every weekend. You can like or dislike some drivers more than others, but all deserve our respect. Cheering for crashes is absolutely not done.

  4. With Perez deleted from Q3 it’s a 4th place so not bad. Now let’s see what their race pace will be nothing to lose for George so he will presure the ferrari’s to the max.

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