George Russell qualified in 11th place at the Red Bull Ring, although his best Q2 time was deleted due to track limit violations. Russell admitted that he struggled for pace throughout qualifying and couldn’t find the right feel with the car. Despite starting from a less-than-ideal position, Russell remains optimistic due to his team’s previous success from further down the grid. He expects a challenging race ahead with high tire degradation and hinted at a possible two-stop strategy. However, the team is determined to understand and address their current struggles on Saturdays.
On the other hand, Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton managed to advance to Q3 and secured a fifth-place grid position. However, Hamilton acknowledged that the Red Bull Ring has historically not been a strong circuit for the Silver Arrows. He conceded to Max Verstappen, the pole sitter, by 0.428 seconds. Hamilton remains hopeful for a stronger performance in the sprint qualifying session on Saturday, which will set the grid for the weekend’s main race.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff expressed disappointment with the team’s performance on Friday, considering it “underwhelming.” Upgraded Ferrari and McLaren cars surpassed both Hamilton and the Aston Martin cars. Wolff highlighted the close time gaps in the field, emphasizing the need for improvement. The team is determined to bring upgrades to Silverstone with the hope that they will have a similar impact to the ones seen on McLaren and Ferrari.
Overall, it was a challenging qualifying session for the Mercedes team at the Red Bull Ring. While Russell struggled for pace and experienced track limit violations, Hamilton secured a relatively better grid position. The team acknowledges the historically difficult nature of this circuit for them and aims to make improvements for the upcoming sprint qualifying and race. The competition is fierce, and their rivals’ stronger performances have emphasized the need for the team to enhance their performance in future races.