George Russell makes stark Mercedes admission: Slower than Alpine in Spain

The Brit knows his car has speed in the race but the Saturday lap time is still not all there

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George Russell believes Mercedes could have to fight to stay ahead of Alpine in qualifying at the 2023 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix.

The W14 has gone through a host of changes which were debuted at the 2023 Monaco GP where the team finished fourth and fifth behind Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso and race winner Max Verstappen.

While their race pace is still very good compared to their rivals, Russell believes the fight n a Saturday is very close and they might not be the best-placed to win that scrap.

“I think there’s a big variety between Saturday and Sunday,” Russell told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport, ahead of the 2023 Spanish GP.

“When you look at Saturday performance, we’re certainly behind Ferrari and Aston Martin, maybe the Alpine as well.

“But when you then look at Sunday performance, we’re probably a little bit closer to Aston Martin but this weekend is going to be a big test.

“We’d like to think we can jump ahead of Ferrari, close the gap to Fernando (Alonso) and Red Bull to hopefully get P2 in the constructors.”

Anything can happen

Russell has previously stated that Red Bull has the speed to win every race this season but he has since changed his tune.

Sergio Perez did not score in Monaco after crashing in qualifying and that has seemingly re-ignited Russell’s belief that misfortune could strike Red Bull and he wants Mercedes to be in the front seat to take advantage.

“On pure pace, they’ve for sure got the potential (to win every race) but certain things can happen,” Russell added.

“I’d like to think at some point we can be able to fight and take advantage of some misfortune down the order.”

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