Russell 'not satisfied' with fifth place at Italian GP despite achieving the 'maximum' result possible
George Russell believes his fifth-place finish at this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix was the “maximum” he and his Mercedes team could have hoped for, although he admitted he was “not satisfied” by the result.
A strong qualifying saw Russell line up fourth alongside Charles Leclerc on the second row of the grid. He attempted to make his way past the Monegasque on the opening lap without success, forcing him to slot into P4.
The Briton then came under pressure from Sergio Perez, and while he battled to keep the Red Bull racer behind, with both drivers ending up off the track at Turn 1 at one stage, he would eventually lose the position.
Russell then received a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage after going off at Turn 1 while making his way past Esteban Ocon. The penalty would do little to spoil his day as he came home in fifth, over 20 seconds ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton in sixth.
Asked if fifth was the “best he could do” on Sunday, Russell replied: “Definitely, P5 was the maximum. Not satisfied with it but I would say it is a well maximised weekend, considering our low-downforce package that we know isn’t our strongest.”
He added: “We’ve outpaced McLaren and Aston Martin here, but unfortunately Ferrari were just a step ahead of us here, and then Red Bull out front. It was a tough race because the degradation was high, but the long pit stop loss just means that a two-stop strategy isn’t really competitive.
“That means a lot of time in DRS, but it’s not easy to overtake with such small pace differences between cars. I’m looking forward to heading to Singapore next.
“We were competitive there last year, and I think that our car will be better suited to that circuit, so hopefully we can fight a bit closer to the front than we managed here.”
Russell was also asked about his battle with Perez, and he admitted he was taking “small satisfaction” from the fact that he was able to keep the Red Bull racer behind for so long given his pace advantage.
“Considering how fast they were – especially the Red Bulls in the high-speed corners were mega fast, but I felt pretty confident under the brakes,” said Russell.
“I was surprised he didn’t come by sooner. I’ll take a small slice of satisfaction in that. But as I said, P5 was the maximum we will take it.”