George Russell lowers expectations for Mercedes upgrades at Imola

The Brit downplayed the impact of incoming upgrades for Mercedes as the former champions try to bridge the gap to Red Bull

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George Russell has tempered expectations of what can be expected from the upgrade package Mercedes are bringing to the next race on the 2023 Formula 1 calendar at Imola.

Lewis Hamilton admitted he was counting down the sleeps until it was introduced but his teammate was less optimistic after a strong race at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix.

“The car is quite challenging to drive at the moment, got a lot to improve,” Russell told reporters.

“We know where we are at the moment. Imola is a new weekend, we’ll have some new bits on the car, but we can’t get carried away.

“Hopefully it’s positive, it is not going to change the world for us in the short term, but hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.”

Russell thanks Hamilton

Hamilton received the radio message no driver wants to hear in Miami: the one telling him to let his teammate by.

The seven-time world champion snapped back initially, saying he wasn’t willing to compromise his race in any way, before duly obliging with no resistance.

It allowed Russell to set about Esteban Ocon and Carlos Sainz up the road, quickly dispatching both to seal a well-deserved fourth-place finish.

“It was a really satisfying race for us,” Russell added. “To finish P4 on merit to jump ahead of the Ferraris was really satisfying and we couldn’t have done any more.

“Today was a more normal day for us after the challenges in qualifying, but of course still still work to do to at least jump ahead of Aston Martin and close the gap to Red Bull.

“The move on Carlos was was really quite enjoyable, that was let’s say the fairest good move that needed quite a lot of commitment because this track is so dirty offline.

“I wasn’t too sure how much grip I would have had and if I could make it stick.

“And thanks to Lewis for letting me by in those situations and allowing me to get on with my race, obviously was in a different position.

“We’ve got a really good relationship at the moment and we only want the best for the team and we’re pushing towards that.”

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