Mercedes driver George Russell predicts a big variety for the upcoming Spanish GP pecking order in the fight for P2 in the championship.
With the new upgrades that the German team introduced in Monaco, Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston Martin are keenly fighting for the place behind Red Bull as the second-fastest team. Heading into Barcelona, George Russell mentioned that he thinks the former world champions might be ahead of Ferrari.
In his pre-race press conference, he said:
"I think there's a big variety from Saturday to Sunday performances. I think when you look at Saturday's performance, we're certainly behind Ferrari and Aston Martin when you look, and sometimes, you know, the Alpine as well. When you look into the Sunday performance, we're probably a little bit closer to Aston Martin.
"But this weekend will be a good test. We'd like to think we can jump ahead of Ferrari globally, close that gap to Fernando, as he is definitely pretty fast, and try to close the gap to Red Bull and get P2 in the Constructors’. I think we've made a lot of changes since the Bahrain test. We learned pretty quickly into the season that the car wasn't where we wanted it to be. So this, as I said, should be the new baseline. And we can go from here,"
"We're just driving around at a slightly higher pace" - George Russell
The British driver stated that during the Bahrain test, the team realized that they were not on pace with their rivals.
"I think the first time you realize this is when you look at the lap times. You drive around the track, and the car can sometimes feel great, but the lap times aren't representing the feeling and vice versa. I'm sure there are, even for championship-winning cars, they may not also feel perfect. We're just driving around at a slightly higher pace. So I think it was when we saw that the lap times weren't translating into what we expected. Aston Martin clearly made a big jump.
"And we hadn't made the jump that we were expecting and needed to make changes quickly. So it was literally straight after the very first test in Bahrain. We were already planning towards the changes that are being implemented, last week in Monaco and obviously this weekend.
It will be fascinating to see where George Russell and Mercedes end up in Barcelona this weekend.