Mercedes frustrated despite new Lewis Hamilton contract

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were forced to settle for P5 and P6 at the Italian Grand Prix, falling behind the Ferraris and Red Bulls.

The Italian Grand Prix left Mercedes with yet another perplexing outcome, as they secured fifth and sixth positions, which team principal Toto Wolff admitted is not the kind of result they aspire to celebrate. 

Nevertheless, given the circumstances where all Red Bull and Ferrari cars completed the race, it was the best Mercedes could achieve.

George Russell, who finished one place ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton, has showcased a promising start to the second half of the season. 

Russell had openly expressed his dissatisfaction with his performance before the summer break, but recent races have seen a notable improvement in his form.

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While the race in Zandvoort did not unfold favourably for Russell, he delivered two impressive qualifying performances. 

Apart from a minor penalty incident, which ultimately had little impact, Russell demonstrated exceptional consistency during the Sunday race.

“I’m really pleased with my own personal performance for these first two races,” Russell commented at Monza, affirming that he feels he is “back to my level” after acknowledging that he had “lost my way” before the break. 

He elaborated on his approach, stating, “[I’ve] slightly gone back to basics and not tried to reinvent the wheel with set-ups and just accepting the pace of the car. 

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“P4 was the maximum potential [in qualifying]. 

“But if I went in trying to do a lap for pole, trying to find three extra tenths, I’d have ended up in the gravel because three tenths extra is just not possible.”

Russell’s adjusted mindset appears to be paying off, especially during qualifying sessions. 

In contrast, Lewis Hamilton has faced challenges in this aspect.

A turbulent qualifying session in the Netherlands relegated Hamilton to 13th on the grid due to several drivers obstructing him on the tight Zandvoort circuit. 

Although he encountered fewer traffic issues at Monza and advanced to Q3, his eighth-place grid position still fell short of expectations.

Hamilton appeared somewhat humbled by being out-qualified by Alex Albon in the Williams, acknowledging Albon’s impressive weekend performance. 

READ: George Russell fights back

To regain his competitive edge, the seven-time world champion could draw inspiration from George Russell’s reset strategy.

With Mercedes dropping behind Ferrari in the race, the Italian outfit closed the gap to the Silver Arrows.

Mercedes are now just 45 points clear of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Standings, with the two sitting in P2 and P3 of the championship respectively.