George Russell felt he got as much out of his W13 as he could have done during Saturday’s Qualifying session at the Circuit de Monaco, but he was only able to qualify sixth on the grid.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver says the ride of the car has not been great all weekend in the principality, so to get a top six on the grid was good, especially when the Monaco track has none of the straights and high-speed corners that the car is much better at attacking.
Russell is hoping for a bit of rain on race day to give them a chance of fighting further up the grid, and he will be looking to roll the dice should the weather be as unsettled as forecasted.
“The ride of the car has been our biggest limitation all weekend and while P6 is not a result to be celebrating, I think we pretty much maximised it out there with the package we have,” said Russell, who has finished inside the top five in each of the opening six races of 2022.
“The team has worked incredibly hard to give us the most compliant set-up possible, but we saw in Barcelona that our strengths were speed on the straights and the high-speed corners – and there’s none of either in Monaco! So looking at it objectively, there’s no reason we should be any higher up today.
“From my point of view, looking to tomorrow I’m thinking: bring on the rain! Nobody knows how the tyres will be in the wet, so we need to keep it out of the wall, be there at the end and roll the dice on strategy if we can.”
“Even with a perfect lap I think we’d still be six tenths off” – Lewis Hamilton
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton will line-up only eighth on the grid after a problematic final session, with the Briton admitting he started his first flying lap in the wrong engine mode that left him on the back foot.
The seven-time World Champion was forced to abort his second attempt as he was caught behind the crash of Sergio Pérez and Carlos Sainz Jr., meaning he was forced to accept a place on the fourth row of the grid for Sunday’s race.
Despite losing his final attempt, Hamilton does not believe it would have made much difference as he had been struggling with the performance of the W13 all weekend long and would have needed to take a lot of risks to get further up the grid.
“The red flags cost me my final lap, but I don’t think it was going to be much different to how it turned out anyway,” said Hamilton. “In hindsight, I needed to get lap one on the tyres and I didn’t, after starting the lap in the wrong engine mode.
“But Monaco is just like that, and it was an unfortunate session. The car feels pretty bad out there and we’re having to take some big risks to get anywhere near the times of the cars in front.
“We improved the car from yesterday and got a little bit closer, but even with a perfect lap I think we’d still be six tenths off, which is a decent chunk. Now we need to see what the weather does tomorrow and try to make some progress up the field.”