George Russell claims Lewis Hamilton underperformed

British driver, George Russell, says that there is little separating McLaren and Mercedes at the moment.

Mercedes driver, George Russell, has insisted that the Silver Arrows ‘had more pace’ than McLaren in Budapest at last weekend’s Grand Prix.

This assertion comes despite McLaren’s Lando Norris clinching a consecutive second-place finish behind the irrepressible Max Verstappen.

Both Russell and his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton missed out on podium spots, coming in sixth and fourth, respectively.

However, Russell was adamant that Hamilton could have taken P2, considering the pace they showed on the Hungaroring.

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The British driver said it was problems with engine cooling that let both Mercedes drivers down.

He believes he could have taken a fifth-placed finish at the Hungarian GP without this problem.

For now, Russell’s mind is fixed on this weekend’s sprint race at the Spa-Francorchamps at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He hopes to “hit the ground running” in practice but is aware it could be a tricky circuit.

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Russell said: “There are no guarantees, especially with this weather we’ve got at the moment.

“It’s going to be really up in the air. Tyres might be a limitation if we run out of tyres because (I think) we’ve only got six sets of intermediate tyres.

“They have to hold you through a practice session, two qualifying sessions, potentially a sprint race – it’s going to be tricky.

“But that’s part of the fun and we’ll be doing our best either way.”

Mercedes remain in second place in the constructor’s standings, with 223 points to McLaren’s 184.

However, many believe that team McLaren is hot on the heels of the Silver Arrows after a recent string of impressive performances from Norris and Oscar Piastri.

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Asked about the Belgian GP, Russell said: “Things look really close between us and McLaren at the moment.

“I think to be honest we had more pace than them at the weekend. We had a bit of a problem with the engine cooling.

“That probably set us back quite a lot. If it wasn’t for that I think Lewis would have gone up to P2 and I would have gone up to P5.”