Russell 'satisfied with the result but not the performance' after P3 finish at Monza
George Russell stood on top of the podium for the fourth time in the last five races after taking the chequered flag in third place at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix. And while the Mercedes driver was satisfied with the result, he was left to reflect on what he described as a “strange weekend”.
Russell started the race in second alongside pole-sitter Charles Leclerc, and was running in P2 until eventual race winner Max Verstappen made his way past the Briton on Lap 5, leaving the Mercedes racer to run a lonely race in third for much of the afternoon.
And speaking after the race, although he was delighted to finish on the podium for the seventh time this season, Russell was left disappointed by the pace of the W13, especially when compared to how the car had performed at the start of the weekend.
“I'm satisfied with the result, not satisfied with the performance no doubt,” said Russell. “Strange weekend; we started off on a really strong foot in FP1, the car was feeling great, pace was strong, and it just went away from us, and we don’t really know why that was.
“So, it was a pretty long, lonely race, the pace wasn’t good; it wasn’t the most enjoyable one for sure.”
He continued: “It definitely wasn’t our strongest race of the season by far, but I think the biggest thing was the pace of Ferrari surprised us. We expected Max and the Red Bulls to be competitive and exactly how they were this weekend and how they were at Spa, but Ferrari caught us by surprise so that is why we couldn’t really fight for that P2.”
After Leclerc pitted for the medium tyre under the early Virtual Safety Car – caused by Sebastian Vettel’s retirement – Russell was running in second before pitting for the hards on Lap 22. And Russell admitted that he struggled on the hard compounds, but heaped praise on his team for trying something different to compete.
“I think when we look back, the softs was our most competitive stint,” said Russell. “We were sort off between arm’s length of the Red Bull and Ferrari at the beginning after the first 20 laps.
"We put the hard on, tried something different, but it was just uncompetitive, and it wasn’t very fun to drive, and it was kind of just trying to bring the car home because it was very on edge, inducing a lot of mistakes."
Russell continued: “It’s not that fun when you can’t really lean on the tyres and push the car, but as I said on the radio on my in-lap, we are scoring these podiums when the car's fast, we are scoring these podiums when the car is off the pace, we’ve got to take the positives from that.”