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Shanghai GP Russell's Test for Mercedes Against McLaren

Shanghai GP: Russell’s Test for Mercedes Against McLaren

19/04/2024

George Russell anticipates a pivotal Chinese Grand Prix to gauge Mercedes F1 against rival McLaren, highlighting this as a crucial comparison point in their Formula 1 standings.

George Russell believes that this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit will prove to be “a very good test” for comparing Mercedes in the Formula 1 hierarchy with its direct rivals, McLaren.

Mercedes has had its worst season start since 2011, and the Brackley-based team is in fourth place in the constructors’ standings with 34 points, 35 behind McLaren, who are third with 69 points.

Ferrari, meanwhile, has established itself as the best of the rest for now, sitting in second place in the standings with 120 points, just 21 points behind the leader Red Bull with 141 points.

Russell has identified the Shanghai circuit’s configuration of low/medium-speed corners as a potential asset for Mercedes to try to level the score with McLaren, whose MCL38 is more in tune with high-speed corners like those found at Suzuka last time.

“I think it will be a very good test this weekend to see where we stand relative to McLaren.”

“They seem to be exceptionally strong in high-speed corners and a bit weak in low-speed corners.”

“So, I think there’s a lot more potential to show. I don’t think we have optimized the car and its settings in the last two races. So, that’s what we’re focusing on.”

Mercedes F1 seems to have regressed, however, as track data have failed to reproduce the performances shown in simulations.

Aside from correlation issues, Russell believes that fine margins could have given the team a much more flattering record during the first four rounds of the season.

“I think small things make a big difference in the overall outcome currently.”

“I think an extra tenth or two in qualifying and you’re four places higher on the grid. The race then unfolds very, very differently.”

“We are currently in a battle for fine margins. And I think we have been on the wrong side in the last few race weekends, on two circuits which, I think, do not really suit the characteristics of this car.”

Shanghai GP Russell's Test for Mercedes Against McLaren

Shanghai GP: Russell’s Test for Mercedes Against McLaren. Shanghai GP: Russell’s Test for Mercedes Against McLaren

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