George Russell believes Mercedes can compete with Red Bull and Ferrari at Formula 1’s British Grand Prix, confident that the Silverstone Circuit will play to the team’s hand “a bit more”.
Mercedes has high hopes it can produce its most competitive weekend of the season so far, as it introduces its latest upgrade package to the W13.
The Brackley-based outfit also reckons Silverstone’s high-speed nature and smooth surface will allow it to extract more performance out of its car, after suffering with bouncing at bumpier tracks in recent races.
Mercedes did make clear progress when running at the last traditional venue in Barcelona as it got on top of its lingering porpoising issues, allowing it to show an upturn in form.
With high optimism inside the team, Russell has faith Mercedes can produce a competitive outing this weekend.
“I think when you look the last three races, they’ve all been pretty similar with regards to sort of slow speed, relatively bumpy street-style circuits,” Russell said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“So I think this high-speed nature of Silverstone, a smoother surface, will definitely play to our hand a bit more than it has done in the previous three events.
“But still, there’s no guarantees because as I’ve said before, every race we go to we’re sort of unlocking a different issue from the car. But we have relative faith that this will be a more competitive weekend for us, not only just with the upgrades, but just with the nature of the circuit.”
Mercedes has generally struggled to match the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull this year, but its performance deficit has looked to have shrunk, particularly in race trim.
Russell acknowledged Mercedes has shown more promise on a Sunday, and sees this trend continuing to the point where it can be fighting at the front on merit.
“I think probably on their pace. I can’t see us being ahead of them.” Russell said about where Mercedes might be relative to Ferrari and Red Bull.
“Especially on Saturday, they definitely seem to have the upper hand in qualifying, I think we’re the only team that closes the gap to the front on a Sunday, rather than that gap extending.
“Normally those gaps always extend when you go to the race. And I think that shows a lot of promise for us. Because we are just lacking downforce at the moment. But there is actually a good race car there. And what I just said about closing that gap clearly shows that.
“It’s going to be interesting. Obviously, this was the first time that cars have really been tested at high-speed corners now, especially in the last couple of races.
“And I think it will be tricky with the edge of the cars smashing against the floor. And we’ll all have to deal with that, probably.”
Russell is the only driver to have scored points at every round so far this season, finishing every race in the top five, but the Briton is clear he wants more.
“I mean, it’s obviously a nice little statistic, but it doesn’t really account to anything, when you get to the end of the season. If it accounts to win a championship then great,” he said.
“But obviously, just finishing between P3 and P5 isn’t going to get you in the top three of the championship probably by the end of the season. So we’re here to win, we’re here to fight. And I’m proud that we have maximised the results. But we’re here to go for more.”