George Russell hints at major Mercedes design updates

The British driver finished Friday at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP as the fifth fastest driver while teammate Lewis Hamilton was 11th

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George Russell has hinted that Mercedes could have significant updates on the way for its W14 Formula 1 car, sooner rather than later.

The dominant force of the hybrid era until 2021, Mercedes saw their car considerably off the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari in 2022, and no major gains have been made in 2023 with Aston Martin now in the mix at the front of the grid as well.

There was some optimism in practice for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, however, as Russell finished the day in the top five, teammate Lewis Hamilton struggled down in 11th.

“It’s only small changes this weekend and probably more similar to what we had in Bahrain compared to what we’re going to see in the future,” Russell told the media after FP2.

“We had some test items on the car in FP2 from my side but these are just small things in the short term.”

No overnight surprises

Even though he had managed a spot in the top five, Russell was not overly confident that his team could find the second they need to in order to compete right at the front overnight.

He also hinted that other teams may have been running different engine modes to themselves which makes guessing the rough pace of the car very difficult in comparison to qualifying and the race.

“We’re not sure what engine modes everyone was running as that’s always something in practice,” Russell continued. “I’m sure Red Bull will be out front but we are learning things.

“We can only go out there and maximise the package you’ve got. We’re not going to find a second overnight as much as I’d like to do that.”

Russell outclassed his vastly experienced teammate in Jeddah in 2022 and the early signs suggest a similar outcome could happen this year too.

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