Mercedes admit George Russell had slower car than Lewis Hamilton

George Russell finished behind Sir Lewis Hamilton at the Austrian Grand Prix, despite starting four places higher.

Following on from their third and fourth place finishes at the recent Austrian Grand Prix, the Mercedes F1 Team have revealed the reason as to why George Russell was so much slower than Sir Lewis Hamilton during the race at the Red Bull Ring.

Mercedes recovered incredibly in Austria, after both Hamilton and Russell crashed heavily in Q3.

Hamilton’s car required a complete rebuild, something which isn’t usually doable during a weekend, let alone less than 24 hours.

The mechanics at the German team performed wonders, and managed to get both British drivers out during FP2 in Styria.

Thankfully for Mercedes, the remainder of the weekend went smoothly, apart from Russell being awarded a five-second penalty for colliding with Sergio Pérez on the opening lap of the race.

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The team probably couldn’t have imagined finishing where they did, especially as it was revealed by the team’s technical director, Mike Elliott, that they were one crash away from having to forfeit the Grand Prix.

In the team’s debrief video, Elliot explained the damage caused by the pair’s crashes.

“When you crash two cars it’s always going to make for a very difficult weekend from then onwards,” said Elliot.

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“We’ve done quite a lot of damage to the cars so, we’ve broken both floors; we’ve broken both rear wings; we damaged quite a lot of suspension, on Lewis’s car; we also damaged the front wing and done some cosmetic damage to the chassis. So, damage that we can repair but not repair over a weekend. That meant completely rebuilding Lewis’s car from scratch,” he revealed.

Spare parts were a real problem for Mercedes in Austria, with the side having to build a brand-new floor, using parts from broken ones.

The team were also lacking rear-wings, after only taking three with them, which were designed to suit the Red Bull Ring.

Both drivers damaged one during their crashes, leaving just a single new rear-wing.

The team opted to give it to Hamilton, as the seven-time World Champion had to start further down the field than Russell.

Russell started both the Sprint and the main race from fourth, whereas Hamilton started the Sprint from ninth and the race from eighth.

It meant Russell was left with a rear-wing of a different specification, resulting in reduced pace.

Elliot discussed the reason as to why the team favoured Hamilton over Russell, and how it wasn’t “ideal” for the fast and flowing circuit situated on the Styrian hillside.

“It meant also trying to build one floor out of two,” Elliott continued.

“We had one complete spare we could fit and we had to get the best out of the two crashed floors to build another.

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“And it also meant we were compromised on George’s rear wing because we only had one complete spare rear wing that we chose to fit to Lewis’s car because he was going to have to come through the field, which meant that George had to fit a rear wing which was probably not the ideal level of downforce, it was a bit too much downforce for that circuit.

“Having rebuilt the cars we also had to dial in the setup again and you’ve got very limited time in FP2 to do that and that was always going to be another compromise, and then finally having damaged two cars as badly as we did on Friday, the drivers are now in a position where if we damage them in the sprint race we may well be in a position where we couldn’t race on Sunday.

“So, all of that has to be factored in, and all of that sort of compromises your weekend,” Elliot concluded.