‘We won’t maintain this position’: Russell fires warning at Mercedes ahead of 2022 Imola GP

George Russell sits second in the Drivers' Championship having scored his first Mercedes podium in Australia.

George Russell has issued a warning to his Mercedes team ahead of the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The Briton managed his first Mercedes podium in Australia having achieved fourth in the Bahrain and fifth in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix during which he comprehensively out-performed team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton.

He surmised that the start to the campaign has “probably” been the maximum that he could have extracted from the car, but there will be no shortage of acknowledgement in the Mercedes camp that the podiums for their Britons will year have been a legacy of Red Bull’s poor reliability rather than raw pace.

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As such, the 24-year-old maintains that a multitude of improvements are needed if they are to avoid being submerged in the midfield fight rather than battling with Red Bull and Ferrari.

“There’s obviously always more performance you can get from every single time you it the circuit,” he said in the press conference ahead of the weekend.

“I think it’s been a reasonable start with the package we’ve got and I think we can come away from these first three races thinking we’ve got some good results with the pace deficit we have to Ferrari and Red Bull.

“We think we’re seven tenths to a second behind them yet we’re sitting P2 in the championship, but we know that we won’t maintain this position unless we find more performance, so we know we need to keep on pushing.”

Mercedes have introduced new winglets to the side of the car that aim to improve airflow, reduce extrusion into the floor and reduce “porpoising.”

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That in turn should help their pace on the straights, but Russell admits that he does not expect it to make a tremendous amount of difference.

READ: Mercedes introduce new winglet for Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

“There’s nothing substantial that’s going to make a drastic difference this weekend,” he explained.

“We’re constantly trying new bits and pieces but in terms of an overall result we are just too far behind to make a substantial difference in terms of overall results so I hope we are going to continue to close this gap.

“I still think it’s too early in the season for us to make that deficit close up so we just need to keep going out there.

“This weekend’s another opportunity because there’s going to be mixed conditions and we need to make the most of that.”

Russell is currently second in the Drivers’ Championship, 34 points behind Charles Leclerc, who has won two of the opening three rounds of the 2022 Formula 1 season.

He will start the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in P11, while Hamilton will line up 14th on the grid.