George Russell doesn’t expect a tow from Lewis Hamilton

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Although Lewis Hamilton will start the Italian Grand Prix from the back due to an engine related grid penalty, George Russell says he doesn’t expect a tow in qualifying.

Mercedes had a very good first free practice at Monza, with George Russell getting P3 and Lewis Hamilton P4. However, in FP2, they dropped to P5 and P7 respectively.

After the sessions, Russell gave his thoughts on the performance drop.

“It was a bit of a strange day,” the Briton said.

“FP1 was looking pretty strong, but then Ferrari and Red Bull have seemingly taken a step forward compared to us.

“Maybe we’ve taken a step back, as we were obviously behind [Lando Norris’] McLaren in FP2, so, a bit of work to be done tonight to understand that.”

Russell also mentioned deployment issues over the radio, which he later explained:

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“I think we’re similar to Red Bull, but Ferrari seem to have the upper hand. It may make things tricky in a race scenario, as they’ve got a bit more in the locker to play with. It’s something we’re going to have to deal with.”

With Hamilton set to start from the back of the grid due to a power unit change, Mercedes could opt to use him to give a tow to Russell in qualifying. George, however, doesn’t expect it.

“I mean, if you nail it, it definitely does work. But there’s high risk, high reward really. So it’s not something we put on a lot of emphasis into.

“Qualifying sessions over time are when we learn quite a lot about the car and the tyres. And that’s clearly been somewhere we’ve struggled this year.

“So for now, I think we’ll both just go in and do an ordinary session,” Russell concluded.

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