George Russell outlines Mercedes strategy to winning 2024 Spanish GP

Mercedes qualified third and fourth for the 2024 Spanish GP giving them a strategic edge over the front runners, but can they win?

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George Russell targets superior tyre degradation as the key for Mercedes to win the 2024 Spanish GP as the team enjoys its most successful qualifying result of the season in Barcelona.

The Silver Arrows are now more confident than they’ve been since the end of 2021 according to the 26-year-old star, as Toto Wolff‘s men finally get to grips with the ground effect era under the careful drawing pen of their chief technical officer, James Allison.

In the wake of that, they have slowly edged closer to the three-team battle for race wins behind Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari and now seem set to join that party after strong performances at the Circuit de Monaco, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.

So, after securing a second-row lockout and finding themselves just a handful of tenths behind Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, Russell believes the fastest man and car will win anyway but targets excellent tyre management as the path to the top step of the podium and the taste of sweet champagne as Mercedes look to win the Spanish GP.

“We’ve been at three circuits now,” Russell told members of the media, including Total-Motorsport.com. “In Monaco, we were 20 milliseconds from qualifying third and it would’ve been a podium. Canada was obviously great and here we’re on the second-row.

Russell added: “I don’t think it will be that difficult to overtake because there’s a lot of tyre degradation here so you’ve only got to offset yourself by two or three laps and suddenly, just from the tyre, you’ll probably have a four tenths advantage on the driver you’re battling.

“We’re obviously in a good position in P3 and P4 strategically to do something different, but ultimately the quickest driver will nine times out of 10 win the race. It’s not like a Singapore or Monaco where, if you find yourself in the lead, you can defend it no matter how slow you are.

“From what we’ve seen, it looks very close with Max and Lando [race pace] and they’re maybe a smidge ahead of everyone else but we often see Red Bull turn it up slightly.”

George Russell during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes
George Russell during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes

Russell joy at Mercedes F1 progress

Mercedes began the season with a shocking performance at the 2024 Bahrain GP where they found themselves beaten by Verstappen by a cool 46 seconds whilst Lewis Hamilton qualified 1.6 seconds behind the Dutchman on that season-opening Saturday.

It seemed as though the team were destined to lag behind their competitors in the ground effect era as McLaren leapfrogged them on pace whilst Ferrari and Red Bull were head and shoulders clear, but already there is light at the end of the tunnel.

A strong performance in Monaco and pole in Canada has seen Mercedes slingshot themselves firmly into the exclusive group of front-runners as they continue to edge closer and closer to their rivals despite being lost in the wilderness in 2022 and 2023, leaving the 26-year-old Brit proud of their progress.

“I think it’s going to be a good fight with Lando and Max tomorrow and we’ll probably just have the edge on Ferrari,” Russell added to press. “But I’m standing here full of pride at what this team has been able to achieve.

“It’s been a hell of a lot of work to turn this around and bring these upgrades a race or two earlier than they were planning.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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