Although George Russell had a bad start at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying, he ultimately managed to regain his original P11.
Afterwards the Briton gave his first comments on the session.
“Definitely challenging,” Russell said.
“I think we had some relatively good pace, but we were stuck in a bit of a DRS train and we just didn’t have the speed in the straight to really attack into Turn 2, so that made things doubly difficult.
“I expect tomorrow there will be more opportunity, but we need to do something different to our rivals to be able to move forward, because it was clear that today it wasn’t easy.”
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Ultimately, George says Mercedes at least learned more about the car which can help them in the future.
“I think it was good; we got a lot of laps on the board. Probably global learning to take into future events. Nothing that will make a big difference this weekend.
“We just need to make the most of it tomorrow. P11 – more opportunities tomorrow to try and move up the grid.”
Later George explained that Mercedes’s pace at Imola was probably more realistic than what results in previous races made it seem.
“It’s tricky, these sprint races. I don’t know what the rest of the race was like, but it felt processional from where we were.
“The race just isn’t long enough to get some tyre degradation there and have some differences between the drivers and the cars, but we have got work to do.
“I think the car is faster, but we still don’t have the speed on the straight to move forward and here you’ve got the small kinks on the straight to limit the overtaking opportunities, so that halted our progress.
“Strategy is going to be key and we are going to have to do something different to our competition. That will give us an opportunity to fight and move up the grid.
“But I am sure we’ll understand a bit more tonight, but it is going to be tricky. It has clearly been a difficult weekend for us, and we probably overachieved in the first few races.
“This weekend we are probably where we deserve to be,” Russell concluded.