Russell says solving porpoising would cure “99% of our issues”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

George Russell gives an overview of Mercedes’ current car troubles and says if the team was able to solve porpoising, they would “find a chunk of lap time”.

Mercedes didn’t have it easy at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, however in the end Lewis Hamilton did manage to get from P15 to P10, while George Russell finished the race in P5.

After the race Russell tried to explain where the team’s problems lie.

“There’s so many factors at play between the mechanical stiffness of the car and then the stiffness of the floors, the design of the floors, tyre pressures,” the Briton said.

“Engine mode as well, the faster you go the worse it gets, so it makes it harder for qualifying because we turn the engines up, maximum power, go quicker down the straight which causes more downforce and causes more porpoising.

“So we almost need to pre-empt this issue and also in the race when you have the DRS closed, you have more downforce than you do with the DRS open, and that’s another factor we need to consider.

“We’re still learning and that’s why we’re far from optimal. But that’s why I said if we solve the porpoising, that would cure I would say 99% of our issues.”

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However, Russell admits he is not sure how long it will take for the problems to get sorted.

“We are going to start trying to develop the car around the issues but we need to solve the underlying problem, which is the porpoising.

“All of these cars perform best at low ride height and we just can’t get anywhere close to where our rivals are running. Timeline, to be honest really no idea.

“We definitely got information, we’re continuing to learn. At the moment we’re making baby steps so we need to make some leaps and bounds, and we’re struggling to find that silver bullet to resolve our issues.

“I’ve got no doubt when we do that, we will find a chunk of lap time, but as I said before it’s easier said than done.”

Despite not being able to tangle with Ferrari and Red Bull, Russell says the car was feeling good.

“The car felt good, in all honesty. I think we maximised the balance, we just know what we’re lacking, and that’s downforce ultimately.

“Pushing flat out, I was really pleased with how the performance was from my personal side, really well managed, did my best to keep up with the Red Bulls especially after the restart, I did everything to stay within the DRS zone.

“We’re a second behind them generally. We’ve got work to do, so we need to go back and review the data, but everybody knows what we need to improve on.”

Asked if the car was feeling better in quali or with a full tank, he said:

“I think we have a better handle on what the race pace than we do quali pace, but the inherent issues are still there, low fuel high fuel, and that’s compromising us.

“When I look at the result, we finished 30 seconds behind, I think that was probably 30 laps after the safety car, a second a lap.

“That’s how far we were behind in qualifying as well,” Russell concluded.

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