George Russell claims Mercedes ‘overshot’ after porpoising woes

George Russell finished seventh at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Mercedes’ George Russell has admitted that the Germans woeful start to 2023 is “a difficult pill to swallow” and that “some big decisions are being made”, as the Silver Arrows attempt to get back on-track.

The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was one to forget for Mercedes, with Russell having finished seventh, whilst team-mate Lewis Hamilton claimed fifth.

To make matters worse for Russell, he finished behind both Aston Martin drivers, with Mercedes having arguably slipped to fourth in the pecking order.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff labelled the season-opener as “one of the worst days in racing”, with several meetings having taken place since Bahrain to figure out how to get the Brackley-based team back to the front quickly.

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Interestingly, Russell believes the team have gone in the “opposite direction” with their 2023 car to ensure that they don’t experience any porpoising, with the 25-year-old having suggested that they’ve compromised their performance by eradicating bouncing.

“I think we probably overshot with the W13 in terms of the aggressiveness of the car and the bouncing that we faced,” Russell told Sky.

“And then we probably overshot in the opposite direction with W14 and compromised too much performance with no bouncing and clearly the lap time isn’t there to show anything.

“So of course it’s a difficult pill to swallow for every single member of the team, and its lack of performance is definitely not through a lack of trying or commitment from anybody. But yes, some big decisions are being made and we’ll be jumping onto a slightly different path, well, already.”

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Things don’t look set to get better for Mercedes anytime soon, though, with Russell and Hamilton having ended Free Practice 1 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in fifth and sixth.

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Russell narrowly edged out Hamilton for fifth, but still found himself 1.1 seconds behind Max Verstappen, who topped the opening session of the weekend at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

To sum up Mercedes’ current issues, Aston Martin were third and fourth in FP1, with Fernando Alonso in particular looking mighty strong once again.

Mercedes were ahead of Ferrari at least, suggesting that it’s the Italians who are on the backfoot this weekend.