George Russell was unsure on Mercedes‘ progress from pre-season testing after two practice sessions at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, with just one more hour of running for teams before they fight for pole position.
Mercedes were led by Lewis Hamilton in FP2, but he could only manage eighth on the timesheets while Russell was down in 13th, nearly a full second behind pacesetter Fernando Alonso.
Coming into the grand prix Mercedes expected to have better race-pace than one lap speed and Russell was asked whether that was reflected in their practice running.
“For sure there’s a similar trend in terms of our race pace from when our qualy pace,” Russell said. “It’s just something we need to continue to investigate and look at.
“But there’s a few teams out there looking very strong. Obviously Aston Martin are probably the biggest surprise, they’ve clearly done a very good job over winter.
“But, yeah, we just need to look over the data and see what we’ve learned from last week to this week, we’ve made some big changes and see if that’s work, as we expected.”
Russell: Mercedes aware of areas to improve
Following testing, Mercedes were confident they knew where to improve the car for the Bahrain GP, but Russell was unable to say whether those changes had benefitted them.
While they still have all night to look over the data from practice, Mercedes only have FP3 – taking place in the daytime – to implement any more changes before the first meaningful session of the season takes place.
“Finding more downforce, finding more laptime,” Russell said. “It’s still our fourth day with this new car. We just need to make sure that we’ve got it in the window where we’re reaching its full potential and probably right now we’re not there.
“We’ve got the car set up in so it’s in a very different window at the moment, the car’s feeling a little bit better but that doesn’t always mean it’s faster.
“So when you look at it, we’ve obviously got a slightly different rear wing here this weekend so need to make sure that’s operating as we expect. So every yeah looking for more answers.”