George Russell bewildered by poor Miami qualifying after Mercedes ‘flip-flopping’

George Russell was left frustrated as he qualified P12 for the 2022 Miami Grand Prix.

George Russell is miffed by his poor performance in qualifying for the 2022 Miami Grand Prix having looked so strong in free practice.

Russell finished in the top two in each of the two Friday practice sessions before ending FP3 down in 17th as Mercedes’ performance continued to oscillate.

The Briton continued to suffer from “porpoising” in Florida as he found himself out-qualified by Sir Lewis Hamilton for the third time this season, despite the changes to the front wing, rear wing and wing beam that were intended to stabilise the chassis and inhibit the bouncing.

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He ended up in 12th as he failed to make Q3 for the second race running, and the result on Saturday spells his worst qualifying in Mercedes colours.

Such juxtaposing levels of performance between practice and qualifying are a mystery to the 24-year-old.

“We’re a bit confused to be honest,” he told Sky Sports.

“My qualifying lap then was slower than I did yesterday in FP2 and the car felt completely different today, we’re struggling a lot with porpoising and I just couldn’t attack any of the corners really so it’s a real shame.

“I think there was potential in there and we saw yesterday we were really quick and it’s just massively gone away from us today and I don’t really know why.”

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The Briton divulged that the setup had been tweaked to allow for a more slippery car that is less abrasive with the track surface, but he found that this made no difference, so is confounded as to why.

“I think it’s just being a bit inconsistent to be honest,” he explained.

“We thought we went pretty conservative with the setup to make sure that we avoided any porpoising but it seemed just as bad as we saw this morning in FP3.

“It was going all the way through the corners in Turn Four and Turn Five and you just can’t attack going into the braking zones so it’s not really making a lot of sense at the moment.

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“When we get into the window it’s fast but I’m just a bit disappointed with myself and for the team. I think the potential was there.”

Russell was asked if he felt as though the race pace of the car would help mitigate the painful qualifying performance, but such is the severity of the bouncing that he cannot but conjecture as to whether the car will be easier or harder to handle on Sunday.

“I don’t really know to be honest but yesterday we were looking like we were in the fight for pole and today we qualified P12 which is the worst qualifying of the year,” he explained.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13. Miami Grand Prix, Friday 6th May 2022. Miami International Autodrome, Miami, Florida, USA..v1

“It doesn’t really make a lot of sense and it’s sort of flip-flopping massively the performance so I couldn’t honestly tell you and [I’m] just disappointed to miss out on Q3 because we had two set of tyres for Q3 as well which would have given us a good opportunity but yeah, I don’t know.”

While Russell qualified 12th, Sir Lewis Hamilton qualified in the top 10 for the third time this season as he ended up in P6, behind his former Mercedes team-mate and current Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas.