Russell: A long evening in Jeddah

Russell: A long evening in Jeddah

Russell: A long evening in Jeddah

George Russell lamented a long evening in the office at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP, his W15’s deficiency in the long speed corners preventing him from attacking.

Russell finished the race sixth behind Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, while Lewis Hamilton had similar struggles in the other Mercedes and finishing behind McLaren’s Lando Norris, the seven-time Formula 1 Champion complaining about the Papaya car’s speed in the high speed corners several times on the team radio.

In the end, the W15s didn’t have the firepower to compete with the McLarens and the Aston’s, Russell commented in Mercedes‘ race report: “It was a long evening out there.

“I spent nearly 40 laps within 1.5 seconds of Fernando Alonso but couldn’t get past. I had a slippery car on the straights, but I couldn’t get close enough in the high-speed to give him any real pressure. P6 was likely a fair result in the end and it’s clear that we haven’t found the sweet spot with this car just yet.” he explained.

“Overall though, we need to find a bit more performance,” Russell continued. “We’ve seen potential and pace in the car, but we haven’t shown it when it’s mattered. We need to understand why that is and improve ahead of Melbourne.

“As we’ve seen, the pecking order behind the Red Bulls is very close so we need to get on top of it. There’s lots of work to do but I believe in the team,” the 26-year-old concluded.

Hamilton: We need to add performance to the car

Hamilton tried a different strategy, not pitting under the Safety Car, but in the end could not benefit and spent the final part of the race staring at the rear wing of Norris’ McLaren. He finished ninth.

“We tried our best to go long today and were hoping that we might benefit from a safety car or a VSC,” Hamilton said after the race.

“Unfortunately it never came to us, and we ended up finishing slightly further back than we started. It was worth trying something different though. We gave it everything we had, and that was likely the best result we could get today given how the race played out.

“There is potential within this car,” Hamilton pointed out, “but we still need to add a good amount of performance. The car today was pretty good in the medium and low-speed corners, but we were losing out in the high-speed.

“These next few races will be tricky but we will be putting in a great deal of effort to improve as much as we can. I know everyone at the factory will be getting their heads down and working as hard as they can,” Hamilton concluded.

Wolff: Not a good day

Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, summed up the team Saudi race, echoing the sentiments of both his drivers, he said: “Today was not a good day for us. It is clear that we are struggling with the car in the high-speed corners.

“We are competitive elsewhere but in three corners here, we were losing about half-a-second. It was therefore incredibly difficult for the drivers to attack with. We tried something different on the strategy but unfortunately, with the low levels of degradation we saw across the field, it didn’t work out for us,” he explained.

“There is so much learning we can take from these first two race weekends,” the Austrian added. “We need to get our heads down to analyse, understand and improve. It’s clear that we’ve got a lot of work to do but these tough days make you better. Everyone is committed to getting the car into a better place and we look forward to coming back stronger in Australia.”

In the end, Wolff was full of praise for Ferrari’s Oliver Bearman who delivered an impressive performance standing in for the ill Carlos Sainz in the last minute, he said: “Congratulations must go to Ollie Bearman.

“He jumped in the car at such short notice and drove a great race, particularly in that final stint. It shows just how high the level is in Formula 2,” the Mercedes boss concluded.

Mercedes leave Saudi Arabia fourth in the F1 Constructors’ Standings, two point behind McLaren in the third.