"A real shame"- Mercedes' George Russell explains reasons for his 'really frustrating' 2022 F1 Singapore GP qualifying

F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice
George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 30, 2022 in Singapore, Singapore. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images,)

George Russell is having a poor weekend in Singapore. The Brit failed to exit Q2 and is starting the race from eleventh on the grid. He explained that he had a mysterious handling issue in his car which led to his poor performance.

Russell struggled with the damp conditions during the practice and qualifying sessions and was left searching for tire grip. The car would not brake properly in corners and kept on going, leading to the Mercedes driver nosing into the barrier twice on Friday. Russell explained:

"I had a recurring issue that we faced in FP1 where I kind of felt every time I got to the corner, I was kind of like picking up the throttle, and the car was just totally pushing on. I think we see this issue on the data."

Russell went on to explain how unfortunate it was that the problem persisted on Saturday during qualifying and there was nothing he could do. He said:

"But it got progressively worse as qualifying continued. So I couldn't get around any of the low-speed corners. It was literally like someone was trying to push me from behind. So that was a real shame."

Russell also stated that he had not encountered such problems before, saying:

"But it's something that I've never, ever noticed before, and never felt before. And it was clearly there in FP1 in my opinion. And as soon as I went out in qualifying something wasn't right."

The British driver explained that the team could see the problem get progressively worse in their data:

"But it was there from the very first lap in qualifying, but it just got progressively worse. So yeah, really frustrating considering how quick the car has been around here, and how quick our race pace was."

George Russell later tweeted:

An issue with the brakes that got progressively worse led to a really tough qualifying. Disappointing, but we’ll be working hard overnight to find a solution. The car has very strong pace here and we’ll be doing everything we can to recover the lost positions tomorrow. 👊

George Russell is having a fantastic 2022 season, finishing in the top five in every race barring the one at Silverstone where he DNF. Russell still has the chance to get a decent start and score a few points, helping Mercedes close the gap to Ferrari in the constructors championship.

George Russell disappointed with his Singapore qualifying but optimistic about his race pace

Russell was disappointed due to the fact that Mercedes have generally been strong in Singapore. Lewis Hamilton won here in 2014, 2017, and 2018 while Nico Rosberg won the 2016 edition. Russell stated:

"Regardless of how the performance is you never want to be starting P11 in a Grand Prix when you've got the car to be fighting for victory. There's been a safety car every single time we've been here."

George Russell will be banking on the fact that there has been a safety car deployed in every Singapore GP since 2008. A safety car would enable the young British driver to take advantage by switching up his pitstop timings and undercutting his opponents. Russell said:

"It's hopefully going to be a couple of pitstops as we need to try and do something different to our rivals. But it won't be a straightforward race."

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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