After qualifying in second position for the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix, George Russell feels he and Mercedes have the necessary strategic options to take victory at Marina Bay and usurp the Ferrari cars.
Carlos Sainz starts on pole position in the Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc third, but in practice Mercedes saved an extra set of medium tyres which gives them more options in terms of what strategy to use.
“The car has been feeling amazing this whole weekend,” Russell told the press after Qualifying for the 2023 Singapore GP.
“Huge credit to the whole team that have been working so hard and putting in a lot of effort to maximise the car we’ve got, and understanding it.
“So really pleased to translate that into a really solid result today. And as I said, it’s just it was really, really enjoyable. To be honest, since the break, I feel like I’ve been really hooked up with the car, setup has been in great window working really well with my engineers.
“We know that on the high downforce circuits we tend to go better, Ferrari are always fast on the street circuit, C5 (soft) tyre, so we knew they’d be quick.
“Red Bull are obviously a big surprise, not too sure what’s going on there. Their long run pace didn’t seem stellar either.
“This is a great opportunity this weekend to get a victory and we’re going to different tyre strategy to every other car on the grid out there. We’ve got two mediums.
“So we’re the only team who’ve got the chance to do a one stop or two stop. So that really gives us a great chance for tomorrow.”
Russell was also keen to point out that other than strategy options, Mercedes also have the pace advantage over Ferrari which could also help the team claim their first win of the season.
“I definitely be going for it [the lead at the start],” Russell continued. “I think that will make our life easier.
“I think we’ve got the pace over Ferrari in the race. But as I said, we’ve got the strategic advantage over them so I’m pretty relaxed even if we were P2 after Turn 1, or even P3, because as I said we’re the only team who can do a two stop race.
“Tyre degradation looks bad, and I hope we’re going to put them in a challenging position to fend us off. I’m feeling good and feeling excited.”
Leclerc isn’t worried by Mercedes
Despite Russell’s seeming confidence for the Singapore GP, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who starts third, wasn’t too bothered by Mercedes’ extra set of medium tyres.
“Carlos is starting first, I’m starting third,” Leclerc said. “So I think we can also put them under quite a bit of pressure. So I’m not I’m not worried.”