George Russell has said that he is interested to see how McLaren‘s race pace fares in the 2023 British Grand Prix after the team qualified second and third.
McLaren had brought a second set of upgrades to Lando Norris’s car and fitted Oscar Piastri‘s MCL60 with the successful updates the team introduced at the Austrian GP.
And to the shock of the Formula 1 world, the team was instantly rewarded. Norris temporarily took provisional pole, before Max Verstappen took the position by 0.25s. Norris was then joined by Piastri, just over 0.1s behind his more experienced teammate in third.
“Exceptionally surprised by them [McLaren], they’ve done an amazing job,” Russell said to select members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com.
“I’m not too sure where all of that pace has come from, even last weekend, and their race pace was fast.
“That’s going to be the interesting one tomorrow, because you often see teams peak on a Saturday and then go backwards on a Sunday. But I have a sneaky feeling that won’t necessarily be the case with McLaren.”
Russell gets prediction all wrong
Prior to the weekend, Russell had said McLaren were going backwards compared to 2019 when they hired Lando Norris.
He had said that he has sympathies for his British compatriot and labelled Norris a fantastic driver.
“It’s a difficult place for Lando [Norris] at the moment because he’s a fantastic driver,” Russell had said to the media on Friday at Silverstone.
“It’s challenging that, as a team, they’re going in a slightly backwards direction compared to the first year he came onto the scene.
“That was when McLaren was at their peak, or the second year in 2020 when they were performing really well, but that’s just the nature of the sport.”
But following the comments, Russell has been humbled in qualifying for the British GP.
Both McLaren cars managed to finish ahead of the Brackley pair, and for the second week in a row, Russell‘s team has had to chase down a papaya car in the race.
It seems that it might be Mercedes who are going backwards compared to pre-2022, as they have now seemingly slipped behind another customer team this season – at least in qualifying trim.
Mercedes introduced a new front wing, and whilst showing promising race pace projections, feared they might exit qualifying much earlier than they would hope.
However, qualifying was better than anticipated as Mercedes line up sixth and seventh for the British GP with Russell believing that the target is to get on the podium.