Russell pleased to rescue weekend with ‘total fluke’ strategy in ‘brutal’ Miami Grand Prix
After only claiming P12 on the grid for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, George Russell’s race prospects weren’t looking particularly rosy. But an alternative strategy played perfectly into the Briton’s hands, as he claimed P5 in the race, finishing ahead of team mate Lewis Hamilton.
After actually heading Free Practice 2 on Friday, Russell was gutted to fail to make it out of Q2 just 24 hours later. But a decision to start on hard tyres and run long ultimately paid dividends, with Russell benefitting from the Lap 41 Safety Car and pitting for mediums.
From there, he set off after team mate Hamilton, trying and failing to make a move for P5 stick on Lap 50 before finally pulling off the overtake on Lap 54 – to maintain his record of finishing every race in the top five this season.
“You sound like a bit of a genius when things like that happen but it was a total fluke,” was Russell’s candid opinion of his strategy call after the race. “It was obviously a good day to come home in P5. Especially after Lap 1, I was down in P15 and I was like ‘bugger, this is going to be a long afternoon.’
“But we showed some good pace. Still far from where we were on Friday [in FP2] so we need to understand why that is, but yes, P5 again.”
Russell went on to double down on his belief that somewhere within the innards of the Mercedes W13 – despite its difficult start to life – there is a “fast racing car”, with the Briton looking to continue to try and unlock the car’s performance following an inaugural race at Miami that he described as “brutal”.
“I was pushing as hard as I could,” said Russell. “It was a brutal race out there: it was so hot, sweaty, my eyes were stinging, I had sweat pouring into my eyes, so I need to find a way to get around that!
“I think it’s mixed feelings to be honest,” he added, “because obviously based on where we were yesterday, today was a good result. But if you told me after Friday that we would finish P5 and P6 and that far behind P1, I would have been pretty disappointed.
“So, we have a fast racing car in there… [but] we don’t have the key to unlock this performance. We don’t really understand why that is, so there is work to do.”