Mercedes’ George Russell has reiterated that the Silver Arrows are a significant margin away from where they would like to be, but has “faith” that they can get to the bottom of the issues they have faced in the early part of 2022.
Russell ended the season-opening 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix in fourth after a double-retirement for the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
That came after Russell qualified ninth, behind team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton and the man he replaced at the Brackley squad – Valtteri Bottas.
He was able to comfortably climb into the top six in the opening exchanges, and this then put him in a position to capitalise on the late problems for Red Bull.
“I think we definitely thought we’d be able to carve away at the field to get into P6 behind the cars ahead of us, and obviously we made the most of the retirements,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’m pretty pleased with that race, I made a good start, gained a position at the beginning but we know the limitations.
“It was a difficult weekend but overall a very good result, we definitely would have taken it before the weekend – a P3 and a P4 for the team, but we recognise we’re a long way behind where we want to be.”
Red Bull advisor Dr Marko said over the winter that it would take a “golden shot” to disturb the status quo from last year despite the new technical regulations, but that shot appears to have hit Mercedes hard as they attempt to get to the bottom of the “porpoising” and handling deficiencies of the W13.
The 24-year-old us unsure when his team will find the solution.
“I don’t know to be honest,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re going to find the silver bullet soon but I have faith that we will find it.
“I think it’s going to be a good couple of races before we start unlocking some more performance from the car but I think it’s been a really positive weekend considering how many issues we have.
“I think realistically we’re probably half a second behind in qualifying.
“I don’t what the average pace difference was but probably half a second, seven tenths behind them in the race so considering how difficult the car is to drive at the moment and how much we’re bouncing, it really wasn’t too bad but we’re here to win [and] we want more.”
The fourth place at Bahrain is the second best finish of Russell’s career having ended the bizarre Belgian Grand Prix second in 2021 with Williams, and both of his Mercedes races in Bahrain have resulted in points.