George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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The 24-year-old and his Mercedes team will be hoping they can get their season back on track with a podium finish this weekend. It has been a difficult campaign for the Briton, who has claimed two podium finishes so far and is currently fourth in the overall standings. He is some way behind leader Max Verstappen, who has a huge rivalry with Russell’s fellow Briton and Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton.
But Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has spoken positively about his team’s chances ahead of tomorrow’s race in Monaco, saying: “The engine performance is good.
“Driveability is in a good place and the balance between drag and load functioned well at the weekend.
“This is where we want to have the car in terms of straight-line performance.”
While Wolff may be excited about his team’s prospects, unearthed accounts reveal Russell does not necessarily share the same enthusiasm.
According to a report by The Checkered Flag last year, Russell described Monaco’s circuit as “pretty straightforward”.
Speaking just after the race had finished, he said: “The race was uneventful, with nothing too exciting going on, but that’s just Monaco sometimes.
“The performance wasn’t as good as we had hoped but that wouldn’t have changed the result.
“Nevertheless, putting this car flat out around the streets of Monaco, lap after lap was really fun. Next up is Baku and we will keep on pushing.”
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At the time, Russell was driving for British team Williams before moving on to Mercedes in September last year.
His race partner, Nicholas Latifi, also enjoyed a debut on the Monaco course.
The Canadian described it as a “very tricky race,” adding: “It is definitely a track that doesn’t suit our car, either on low or high fuel, with the low speed corners and the bumps.
“It was very tough out there to manage, but I feel like I looked after the tyres as best I could. I did have some more pace than George at various points in the race, but ultimately, we wouldn’t have been in the position to score points.
“There was no Monaco chaos, but that’s just how it goes sometimes here.”
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More recently, Wolff played up his team’s chances by discussing the positivity surrounding his team’s latest appearance at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Russell finished third for his second podium of the season, while Hamilton claimed fifth, despite at one stage being forced to the back of the chasing pack.
He said: “We are learning by doing.
“These regulations have caught us off guard, in a way, and step by step we are understanding what we need to do in order to bring the performance back into the car.
“We saw another big step at the weekend. Probably we’ve halved the disadvantage to the frontrunners but still, there is a long way to go in order to be right up there in the fight.
“With Lewis, we probably had the fastest racecar.
“He was 50 seconds behind in the end, but he caught all the way up, and at stages, he was the quickest, which shows the potential the car has.”
Qualifying for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix begins today.
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