Russell: “I’d like to think we can fight for the top three in qualifying“

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

After the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix FP1&2, George Russell says he’d “like too think we can fight for the top three in qualifying and who knows where that could take us on Sunday”.

Although Mercedes seemed to be a bit lagging behind Red Bull in Abu Dhabi Grand Prix FP2, George Russell says the team is very close.

“We’ll be fighting for it,” the Briton said.

“I’d like to think we can fight for the top three in qualifying and who knows where that could take us on Sunday.

“We had a very strong day in terms of what we’ve learnt. We had quite a lot of test items, especially on my side in FP1 looking ahead to 2023 and this is one of our last opportunities to test.

“FP2, obviously, a cooler track temperature, things changed completely and it felt fast out there but I think Red bull just has the legs on us.

“Over a single lap, they’re probably two-tenths [of a second] ahead and on a long run, maybe further.

“So we’ve a little bit of work to do overnight but compared to Ferrari it looked reasonable.”


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As for Pirelli’s tyres, that Lewis Hamilton was critical of at the Yas Marina Circuit, Russell said:

“It’s really difficult over a single lap because all of the tight corners are in the last sector.

“So you’re trying to find that balance to get the most out of the tyre, not taking too much out of it in sector one but making sure it’s still alive in sector three.

“The race run, I would have said we’re a little bit behind Red Bull. We know they’ve got a really slippery car down the straights.

“It’s very efficient, and on a circuit like this with two long straights and lots of slow-speed corners, this fits them down to a tee.

“I’m pleased we’re much closer than we were at Spa where it’s not too dissimilar to this,” the Briton concluded.

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