Formula 1

Mercedes Not Putting a lot of Emphasis on ‘High-Risk-High-Reward’ tow at Monza – Russell

2 Mins read
Credit: Steve Etherington

George Russell felt it was a ‘strange’ Friday at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, but he was disappointed to see both Scuderia Ferrari and Oracle Red Bull Racing seemingly pull away from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in the second free practice session.

The British racer had ended third fastest in the first session in Italy but fell to fifth in the second, but the gap between him and the fastest time increased from three-tenths of a second to seven-tenths.

Russell felt he was struggling with electrical deployment at Monza on Friday, and he hopes the team will be able to solve that issue ahead of Saturday’s Qualifying session and more so before Sunday’s race.

“Bit of a strange day, FP1 was looking pretty strong but then Ferrari and Red Bull seemed to take a step forward in FP2 and we went a little backwards so we have work to do tonight to understand that,” said Russell.

“Generally speaking, we’re lacking a little electrical deployment here, we’re similar to Red Bull but Ferrari seem to have the upper hand on deployment which might be tricky in a race scenario.”

Looking ahead to Qualifying, however, Russell feels the tow will be worth a lot during the session, if they get it right, but they will not be putting too much emphasis on it due to the high risks involved.

“If you nail the tow around here in qualifying, it will definitely make a difference but it’s high-risk-high-reward so not something we’re putting a lot of emphasis on,” he said.

“Qualifying sessions are where you learn the most about the car and the tyres, and they’ve been the sessions we’ve struggled most with this year, so I think we’ll both be going out tomorrow like any other quali day and trying to nail the basics.”

“We just didn’t feel as fast in the later session” – Lewis Hamilton

Team-mate Lewis Hamilton knows he will go into Qualifying with a back-of-the-grid penalty hanging over him following engine component changes, and the seven-time World Champion expects to be giving Russell a tow in Qualifying as a result.

Hamilton did not have the same deployment issues as his team-mate in the second session at Monza, but like Russell, he did not feel the same pace in that second session as in the first.

“We made some setup changes in between FP1 and FP2 and went a lot slower, or the other guys went a lot quicker – we just didn’t feel as fast in the later session,” said Hamilton.

“I know George had some deployment issues here but my car didn’t seem to be affected. It’s George’s turn to choose who goes first or second tomorrow so I assume I’ll go first and naturally I’ll provide him with a bit of a tow.”

Lewis Hamilton expects to be giving George Russell a tow during Qualifying at Monza – Credit: LAT Images
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