George Russell has an explanation for huge Mercedes pace discrepancy

George Russell and Sir Lewis Hamilton and fourth and sixth, respectively, in the championship.

Mercedes’ George Russell cannot explain exactly where the Silver Arrows are lacking in qualifying, but he has one or two working theories.

Russell has finished ahead of where he started 12 times this year, while team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton has done the same 13 times.

Part of this qualifying deficit has been down to a pure lack of qualifying pace, and another due to grid penalties for Hamilton in Monza last time out.

The trend has been interrupted on occasion, namely when Russell grabbed a sensational pole at the Hungarian Grand Prix before the summer break.

READ: George Russell interested to see Lewis Hamilton’s ‘approach to certain issues’

It was in Budapest that he and Hamilton scored one of their two double podiums season, and they have since increased their tally of rostrum appearances to 13 between them.

The 1.8-second deficit to Max Verstappen in Spa was a concerning one for the Silver Arrows, but Russell would end up giving Carlos Sainz a brief challenge for the podium.

They are yet to record a win though, with Red Bull and Ferrari claiming all 16 victories between them in 2022.

Temperatures, strategic astuteness and reliability have all played a part in one way or another as Mercedes try to figure out how to tame their misbehaving W13, but the inconsistency from race to race is ultimately what denied them having any shot at the title.

Article continues below

Russell offered a potential explanation as to why, in qualifying, the Brackley-based squad have fallen back from Red Bull and Ferrari, and sometimes even into the clutches of McLaren and Alpine.

“It is something we are still trying to comprehend as well,” he said, quoted by GPFans.

“There’s no doubt we are very good at tyre temperature management and that probably plays against us.

“In qualifying, I think those midfield cars, which potentially induce more temperature into the tyres, naturally can afford to go slower on the out laps, damage the tyre less and then they have even more performance for a single lap.

READ: Toto Wolff opens up on ‘problems we created’, stresses importance of next few weeks

“Whereas you see with us, pretty consistently our out laps have to be so fast in qualifying to get the temperature, that we are damaging the surface of the tyre.

“That’s probably why we’re on the back foot in qualifying, but it’s just a theory. We don’t have a lot of merit to back up that argument just yet.”

The efforts of Russell and Hamilton have helped Mercedes to third in the Constructors’ Standings, 35 points adrift of second-placed Ferrari with six rounds to go in 2022.