Optimistic George Russell outlines target for US GP after disappointing Sprint Race

George Russell starts the 2023 United States GP fifth for Mercedes

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George Russell‘s setting his sights on a podium finish at the 2023 United States Grand Prix, despite an uncompetitive sprint where he picked up a single point while Lewis Hamilton finished second for Mercedes.

Russell trailed home eighth after picking up a five-second penalty in the opening laps, and spent the end of the race frustrated behind Carlos Sainz, unable to pass despite the Ferrari being left high and dry on soft tyres.

Mercedes brought a new floor to the Circuit of the Americas and Hamilton‘s certainly bedded in quickly, qualifying third for the grand prix after just an hour of free practice then repeating that performance in the sprint shootout.

“In the end, it was a shame I couldn’t get past Carlos, he was just too quick in the corners that matter compared to us,” Russell told the media.

“But we’re in a strong place for tomorrow, I think starting fifth we’ve got a good chance to fight for a podium. But a fight it’s going to be with probably with Lando.

“It’s feeling good, we know that a circuit like this with high and low-speed corners doesn’t naturally suit our car but definitely a lot of positives to take, it’s all going in the right direction so feeling optimistic.”

Russell admits fault for Piastri penalty

Russell was consigned to eighth place by a slam-dunk penalty for his off-track overtake on Piastri, despite protesting to Mercedes that the Australian had forced him off.

Sergio Perez leads Mercedes’ George Russell in the 2023 United States GP sprint race | Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Piastri had been out of shape in the tricky section before the sweeping right-hander at the end of the Circuit of the Americas, and Russell made his move from very deep against a McLaren struggling for pace.

It was the second penalty of the day and his second incident in the final sector, after he also impeded Charles Leclerc at the end of the sprint shootout and earned a three-place grid drop for another stonewall decision.

“I think it’s fair, it was always optimistic,” Russell added. “He had his right to push me off, I went for it just thinking, if he was being a kind, I would have got the position. 

“It’s definitely a scrappy day in the stewards twice, both were fair penalties. Neither were intentional, but yeah one of those.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, and previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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