George Russell sealed yet another podium at the recent Italian Grand Prix, in what the Mercedes driver labelled as a “lonely” race.
Following a plethora of grid penalties, Russell lined-up on the front row of the grid alongside polesitter Charles Leclerc, despite having actually qualified sixth.
Mercedes initially looked strong at Monza on the Friday; however, their pace appeared to disappear across Saturday and Sunday.
Russell arguably managed the best result Mercedes could’ve hoped for from the race at the ‘Temple of Speed’, after finishing third.
Leclerc and Max Verstappen were simply too fast for the W13 to compete with, resulting in a quiet race for the 24-year-old.
Following the race, Russell admitted that the weekend simply “went away” from the Silver Arrows, with Ferrari’s pace having “caught us by surprise”.
“I’m satisfied with the result, not satisfied with the performance no doubt,” said Russell after the race.
“Strange weekend; we started off on a really strong foot in FP1, the car was feeling great, pace was strong, and it just went away from us, and we don’t really know why that was.
“So, it was a pretty long, lonely race, the pace wasn’t good; it wasn’t the most enjoyable one for sure. It definitely wasn’t our strongest race of the season by far, but I think the biggest thing was the pace of Ferrari surprised us.
“We expected Max and the Red Bulls to be competitive and exactly how they were this weekend and how they were at Spa, but Ferrari caught us by surprise so that is why we couldn’t really fight for that P2.”
Monza wrapped up an extremely challenging triple-header for Mercedes, which included two low downforce circuits.
Spa was woeful for Mercedes, whereas a third and fifth place finish at Monza was arguably the best they could’ve helped for, given the fact Sir Lewis Hamilton started P19.
The Dutch Grand Prix is undoubtedly the race the team will look back on at the end of the year and question what went wrong, especially if they don’t win a race in the final events of the season.
Mercedes were extremely strong at Zandvoort and could’ve claimed a much-needed victory; however, a late Virtual Safety Car and then an actual Safety Car ruined their chances.
Mercedes’ head of trackside engineering, Andrew Shovlin, wasn’t afraid to admit that the triple header was “particularly tough” for the German’s, but that they are targeting “better” performances at the remaining races of the season.
“Triple headers are never easy for the team and this one has been particularly tough, but we hope to perform better in the closing races,” said Shovlin.
“The battle with Ferrari for second place gives us a good goal to work towards in the final part of the season, so we’ll be using the next two weeks to prepare as it’s going to be a tough finish with six races in eight weeks.”