Lewis Hamilton and George Russell aiming for victory in Mexico

Mercedes George Russell is targeting a podium in Mexico following positive signs in practice.

George Russell has set his sights on a podium following Mercedes best Friday practice sessions of the year.

It was another disrupted Friday, similar to Austin last time out, with FP1 being used by some teams to fulfil their young driver obligations, and FP2 being used as a Pirelli tyre test.

Russell, who was replaced by the AlphaTauri bound Nyck de Vries for FP1, managed to top the timing screens in the second session of the day when he got the opportunity to run on the 2022 tyres following the Pirelli test.

The Silver Arrows have struggled to have a consistently good weekend so far this year, often having either a strong qualifying or a good recovery drive, but this weekend Russell can see this trend ending, tipping the team for a successful weekend.

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“Today was one of our better Fridays, if not the best of the year so far,” he claimed.

“The car is working well and it felt good driving on this track.”

With the Mexican Grand Prix being the highest altitude race on the calendar, Mercedes will be anticipating a better pace this weekend, with the low air density helping the W13, which has been struggling with drag.

“The pace was relatively strong, but we know the challenges at this circuit,” Russell explained.

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“For qualifying, the difficulty will be to get the tyres in the right window for the single lap run. And on Sunday, it will be difficult to manage temperatures for the engine and for the brakes.”

Tyre temperature management has been one of the biggest problems for Mercedes this season and Russell is taking this in to account before making any predictions for this weekend, with the unorthodox practice sessions limiting the quality and quantity of data available.

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“Not having the normal FP2 running, where we get to assess the long-run performance of our rivals, doesn’t allow us to understand where our competitors are and that can become a big challenge if we will struggle with tyre temperatures during the race,” he told reporters following Friday’s sessions.

“We take some very useful learnings about tyre temperature management for next year and will be working hard overnight as it’s not going to be a straightforward weekend for sure, but positive learnings for us today.”

Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton was the fastest on track during the Pirelli tyre tests, leading Mercedes to aim for a podium this weekend, daring to dream of their first win of the year.