George Russell has said that Mercedes went backwards at the Austrian GP after their two drivers finished in seventh and eighth.
The team had struggled across the weekend with setup and issues with their car, with the pace not quite there to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes at the front of the grid.
However, in the race they also fell behind the heavily upgraded McLaren of Lando Norris, who secured the team’s best finish of the season in fifth, as well as the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.
“The pace was really not what we expected it to be. We have a lot to understand, because we took a big step backwards. And Lando and McLaren were a big surprise for us, so they cleary got it right” Russell told media after the race.
“We have a fast car in certain circumstances. And we just need to understand why we didn’t this weekend.”
Russell added that Mercedes struggled with some specific aspects of the Red Bull Ring, and weren’t able to get the car in the right window for the tight corners and short lap time in Spielberg.
“I think it’s just getting the right balance, it is a very different type of circuit compared to one like Barcelona, which we excelled at going into the last two weekends, we’ve not been quite as competitive,” he said
“But here we clearly were a step backwards compared to Barcelona and Canada.”
Mercedes are poised to introduce a host of upgrades for their home race at Silverstone at the British GP next weekend, and Russell added that he thought it could be an opportunity to move up the pack after a disappointing outing.
“I think so. Silverstone is gonna be an interesting one for us. As I said, as it’s clearly circuit dependent. In the sprint races, it is very challenging if you don’t hit the ground running. And we clearly didn’t,” he said.
“The pace wasn’t good on Friday, we knew was off the pace in the long run. Had it been a normal weekend, maybe the result would have been different than today.”
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circus finished in Austria, we move on to the 2023 British Grand Prix which will be held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England over the weekend of July 7-9.