Toto Wolff makes George Russell admission

George Russell saw his chances of a Dutch GP podium end almost immediately on Sunday.

George Russell’s 2023 campaign has largely been one of disappointment so far, with his form having not improved at the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday.

Russell did well to qualify in third at Zandvoort, putting him in a great position to challenge for a podium.

If it wasn’t for a Mercedes blunder, then the 25-year-old would’ve been in the fight for a much-needed rostrum.

Instead, Russell finished 17th, after having to pit late on due to a puncture.

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Russell suffered from a late puncture following contact with Lando Norris, in what was deemed by the stewards as a racing incident.

However, Russell’s podium hopes were over well before then, after Mercedes failed to pit the former Williams driver quickly enough in the opening stages, following a sudden heavy downpour on lap 1.

It means Russell’s run of disappoint recent results continued, with it being yet another “missed” opportunity for the Mercedes driver.

He admitted ahead of the weekend that he “needed” the summer break, following an “intense” start to the season.

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“It’s been a season of two halves. The first six races were really strong. The last six races, not so much,” said Russell, as reported by the Mirror.

“I’ve a few ideas why that is, a lot of missed opportunities this season, for various reasons. Some from mistakes of my own, some like the failure in Australia cost me a lot of points.

“But if you’re not fighting for the P1 in the drivers’ championship, you just want to maximise the constructors’ and, so far, we’re doing that. It’s needed, this break, for everybody in the sport – it has been a pretty intense start to the season.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is seemingly trying to motivate Russell, who he is certain has the talent to get over his current slump.

A podium on Sunday would’ve certainly done this, alas he’ll have to try again in Monza.

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“When you and I are having a bad day, nobody knows. When a driver is having a bad day then he’s probably a tenth off and that makes all the difference in qualifying,” Wolff said following a question by Mirror Sport after qualifying.

“All drivers have days that are not so good and we’ve seen ups and downs with George, but the quality of driver that he is, I’ve never doubted for a minute. Today he was able to shine with the car on P3, had a drama-free qualifying with no traffic.

“I’m trying to really bang into his head that he hasn’t lost his form and that it’s just a myth that he’s making up.

“You don’t unlearn to drive… you have ups and downs like all of us have, racing drivers too, but every weekend when things have gone against him it was pretty clear why that was – and it wasn’t the driving.”