George Russell says Mercedes has “an outside shot” of victory

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After the French Grand Prix free practice sessions, George Russell says Mercedes is “probably a little bit further off the pace” than they hoped.

Ahead of the French Grand Prix weekend, many have predicted that Mercedes could be in the running for the victory, however after getting P5 in FP2, George Russell says the team is not where they hoped to be.

“A lot to go over,” the Briton said.

“Our high-fuel pace was better than our low-fuel pace so we need to make sure we optimise tomorrow so there are no midfield cars between us and the front four, and then see how we get on for Sunday.

“The Ferraris struggled a bit more than us, Max [Verstappen] looked very fast as usual so we’ve work to do.”

Asked whether Mercedes has a shot at winning the race on Sunday, he said:

“Outside shot is probably the way to put it. We’re probably a little bit further off the pace today than we would have hoped. Work to do tonight and back at the factories but never say never.”

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Mercedes brought some updates to France, so George was asked how they were working.

“We need to look over the data. We think the updates are working but everybody keeps on improving their cars, keep on bringing updates, and the whole grid just moves forward.

“So even though we are finding time, our rivals also keep finding time. It’s sometimes not quite as simple as you see on the lap chart.”

As for the tyres, he said:

“We only did five laps of consecutive running at the end, we had a little issue in the garage so we’ve got to see how it pans out.

“Some teams definitely struggled more than others. It seemed okay from our side but the inherent pace is quite a bit down.

“Let’s see,” Russell concluded.

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