When did George Russell and the team realise that the 2023 F1 challenger would not be competitive? The Mercedes driver reveals

George Russell claimed Mercedes realised that the W14 was not competitive enough after the preseason test itself. The Briton believes their car was not as quick as they expected it to be from the beginning.

Speaking at the Drivers’ press conference ahead of the 2023 Spanish GP, George Russell said:

“I think the first time you realise is when you look at the lap times. You drive around the track, the car can sometimes feel great, but the lap times aren’t representing the feeling and vice versa. I’m sure there’s, even for championship-winning cars, they may not also feel perfect. We’re just driving around at a slightly higher pace.

“So, I think it was when we saw that the lap times weren’t translating into what we expected. Aston Martin clearly made a big jump. And we hadn’t made the jump that we were expecting and needed to make changes quick. So it was literally straight after the very first test in Bahrain. We were already planning towards the changes that are being implemented, last week in Monaco and obviously this weekend.”

Looking at their own targets for their car henceforth, George Russell said:

“I think there’s a big variety from Saturday to Sunday performance. I think when you look on Saturday performance, we’re certainly behind Ferrari and Aston Martin when you look, and sometimes, you know, the Alpine as well. When you look into the Sunday performance, we’re probably a little bit closer to Aston Martin. But this weekend will be a good test. We’d like to think we can jump ahead of Ferrari globally, close that gap to Fernando, as he is definitely pretty fast, and try to close the gap to Red Bull and get P2 in the Constructors.”

The Briton explained that the team were aware of the W14 not being competitive enough when the progress would not translate into lap times. Aston Martin taking a leap ahead was another unexpected change for the team.

However, they are looking forward to their upgrades at the Spanish GP. While P2 in the constructors’ championship is their aim for the season, the Briton claimed they were still lacking behind Aston Martin and Ferrari.

George Russell believes Red Bull can win every race of the season

On pure pace, George Russell believes Red Bull can win every race of the season given the trend so far. However, the Briton felt there can be situations and circumstances that can hamper that from happening.

He feels that there has always been a single dominance in the sport and ideally, it would suit to have multiple teams and drivers fighting for the championship.

Asked if he thinks Red Bull could win every race of the season, George Russell said:

“Yeah, I think like Max said, on pure pace, for sure, they’ve got the potential, but certain things can happen. And I’d like to think we’ll be able to fight at some point and take advantage of some misfortune, down the order. But yes, it’s challenging.

“I agree with what Max said. There has always been dominance in Formula 1. And I don’t know how we get to a place where you can have multiple drivers and teams fighting for the championship, because I think that would be the best for the sport, best for all of us. And I think the fans would love it. But obviously, you can’t always get what you dream for.”

Red Bull have won every race in the last seven rounds on the calendar. In the constructors’ championship, they are comfortably leading with a total of 249 points, 129 points ahead of Aston Martin and 130 points ahead of Mercedes.

While the gap between Aston Martin and Mercedes is one point, a second place can be a possibility for Mercedes if George Russell and Lewis Hamilton are able to have consistent point finishes. However, the Silver Arrows fighting Red Bull could be a long road ahead.

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