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Russell ‘confused’ by poor Miami qualifying having harboured hopes for pole

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George Russell says he was ‘confused’ by his lack of pace in qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix considering he believed Mercedes were in the fight for pole after their form in second practice.

The Mercedes W13 looked like it had made a solid step forward during Friday running following a host of upgrades, with Russell and team mate Lewis Hamilton first and fourth respectively in FP2. But that became 17th and 15th in final practice, as Russell lamented a lack of grip.

And for Russell at least, things didn’t improve when they got into qualifying. “We’re a bit confused to be honest,” said the Briton, who ended up P12 on the grid. “My qualifying lap I did just then was slower than the lap I did in FP2.

READ MORE: Leclerc takes pole ahead of Ferrari team mate Sainz in first-ever Miami Grand Prix qualifying session

“The car has felt completely different today, struggling a lot with porpoising and I just couldn’t attack any of the corners really so it’s a real shame because I think there was the potential in there, and we saw yesterday, we were really quick, and it’s just massively gone away from us today. And I don’t really know why.”

He added: “it’s not really making a lot of sense at the moment. When we get in the window, it’s fast but I’m just a bit disappointed with myself and for the team because the potential was there.”

Lewis Hamilton: 'Quite difficult' to get most out of Mercedes car in Miami qualifying

Given the up and down nature of their performance this weekend, Russell is wary of making predictions about their hopes for Sunday’s race.

“I don’t really know to be honest, because yesterday we were looking like we were going to be in the fight for pole, and today we’re P12, which is the worst qualifying of the year,” he said. “It doesn’t really make a lot of sense, and it’s sort of flip flopping massively, the performance. So I couldn’t honestly tell you. I'm just disappointed to miss out on Q3.”

READ MORE: Leclerc expects a 'tight challenge' from Red Bull as Ferrari aim to hold off rivals from front row in Miami

Hamilton had a better qualifying, leaving it late to make it out of Q1 before progressing through the sessions and ending up sixth quickest.

“It's a better qualifying than I’ve had for the last three races, so I’m grateful for that to be honest and I’ll take it,” said Hamilton. “We’ll just keep on chipping away. There’s so much amazing work that’s gone on in the background and everyone’s working so hard.

“Unfortunately I don’t necessarily think we’re moving forward at the pace that we would like to, but that happens. It’s similar to, I think, the beginning of the year. We’ve just got to keep our heads down, keep working, keep focused, keep trundling and eventually we’ll get there.”

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