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Russell says P4 seemed ‘massively out of reach’ ahead of battling Imola recovery drive

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George Russell brightened an otherwise challenging Sunday for Mercedes with a brilliant P4 performance in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, as team mate Lewis Hamilton was stuck in P13 – with Russell saying the result had been unexpected after starting the race in 11th.

Russell hadn’t fared too well in either Friday qualifying – 11th as neither Mercedes made it to Q3 – nor the Sprint, where he finished 11th again to start from that grid slot on Sunday. However, he jumped to sixth with a searing start, took P5 off Kevin Magnussen and was promoted to P4 by Charles Leclerc’s late spin – with Russell defending hard from Valtteri Bottas at the end.

READ MORE: Wolff says Mercedes W13 is ‘not worthy of a world champion’ after Hamilton finishes 13th at Imola

And speaking after the Grand Prix, Russell opened up on the challenges of racing in the wet-dry conditions – especially with Mercedes not managing to adjust his front wing in the pits when Russell switched from intermediates onto slick tyres.

“It was difficult because the first stint was strong, but I had loads of understeer in the car so I wanted to put a lot of front wing in the car for the dry tyre. And then ordinarily you need to put a lot more front wing in the car for the wet compared to the dry and unfortunately, we didn’t manage it in the pit stop.

READ MORE: Hamilton concedes he’s ‘out of the championship’ fight after tough run to P13 at Imola

“I was like, 'bugger, this is going to be a difficult 40 laps,' and I just had to manage the tyre because I wanted to attack Lando [Norris, who finished P3]; I knew that that front-right would have just disappeared, and I’d definitely finish behind Valtteri. Really pleased with the result today – P4 was massively out of reach after qualifying, after the Sprint yesterday – so a good result again,” he said.

2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Onboard with George Russell for Imola start

Mercedes’ ongoing porpoising issues added even more of a challenge to Russell’s Sunday, as he explained.

“It was still difficult to drive with the bouncing. There was one time I was on the radio, and it sort of took my breath away on the straight with the bumps. I need a nice hot bath to recover!”

READ MORE: What the teams said – Race day in Emilia Romagna

Heading to Miami, Russell is fourth in the championship behind Leclerc and the Red Bull drivers – Mercedes sitting third in the constructors’ championship with a 31-point lead over McLaren.

“As I’ve said before, it’s a results-based business and we’re getting the results at the moment, relatively speaking, so it gives me confidence that when we improve the pace of the car, we’ll be there,” concluded Russell.

logo 2022Drivers' standings post-Imola

PositionTeam NamePoints
1 Leclerc86
2 Verstappen59
3 Perez54
4 Russell49
5 Sainz38
6 Norris35
7 Hamilton28
8 Bottas24
9 Ocon20
10 Magnussen15
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