Russell hails ‘one of our best Fridays’ as Mercedes push for breakthrough victory in Mexico
George Russell believes that Mercedes put together one of their best Fridays of the season so far after setting the early pace at the Mexico City Grand Prix, as the team look to triumph for the first time in 2022.
Having missed FP1 to give outgoing Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries some more track time, Russell led the way on 2022-spec soft tyres in second practice, with the Briton explaining that his W13 is “working well” and has a “good feel” around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Asked for his expectations after the first day of practice, Russell said: “I’d like to think it’s definitely [a] podium [that’s] possible, at least. It’s probably one of, if not our best Friday of the year.
“Between the two of us [Russell and team mate Lewis Hamilton], we’ve got 14 podiums [so far this season], so that’s absolutely what we’ll be going for. But not having the normal FP2 running, where you get to understand the long run, the consecutive laps of your rivals, it’s going to be difficult to know.
“We can soon get into a lot of trouble if the temperature is a bit hotter or a bit cooler, and we find ourselves having to manage everything on Sunday. It’s not going to be a straightforward Saturday and Sunday, for sure.”
Hamilton, who ended the day in fourth position, echoed Russell’s sentiments as the seven-time world champion looks to go one better than the second-place finish he achieved last time out in the United States.
“I feel good… I feel really, really good. I generally had a really good session today. I really enjoyed driving around the track. The car is feeling better and better as we work more through it, and we understand it more,” Hamilton commented.
“We had the tyre test at the end [and] it was just reconnaissance laps, like practice, practice, practice, [so] I don’t know were we stand compared to the others, because everyone is on different programmes. Obviously, George was on a different programme, because he missed FP1, but I just focused on mine, and it feels good.”
Asked if he expects the car to get better as the weekend develops, Hamilton added: “I have no idea. You never know with this car. Tomorrow morning it could slap me in the face and not be happy, but I hope that’s not the case. Of course, we will do plenty of work tonight to see if we can etch ourselves a little bit further forward.”