George Russell predicted that Crimson Bull might be a step forward of Mercedes and Ferrari because the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend develops, admitting his group has “a bit of labor to do” after their stable efficiency. at Friday observe.
Mercedes clinched an early afternoon one-two from opening observe, however their vehicles crashed throughout a cooler FP2 – Russell ending the day three-tenths behind Crimson Bull driver Max Verstappen with team-mate Lewis Hamilton six-tenths again in fourth.
Whereas Russell feels Mercedes gained a whole lot of invaluable information from the 2 periods, particularly looking forward to the 2023 season, he feels Verstappen and Crimson Bull have the higher hand on the Yas Marina Circuit – which is dominated by lengthy straights and heavy braking zones.
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“I feel we had a very sturdy day when it comes to what we discovered. We have performed a whole lot of take a look at objects, particularly on my aspect, in FP1 wanting in direction of 2023 and that is certainly one of our final alternatives to check. FP2 clearly [it was a] decrease observe temperature – the observe has fully modified,” defined Russell.
“It seemed quick on the market, however I feel Crimson Bull solely have their legs on us on a single lap. [They’re] in all probability two tenths forward, [and on the] lengthy runs possibly even additional away so we’ve got a bit of labor to do in a single day however in comparison with the Ferrari it seems fairly respectable.”
Pressed on what’s potential for him and Mercedes this weekend, he added: “I feel we will combat for it. I wish to suppose we are able to combat for the highest three within the standings, and who is aware of the place that might take you on Sunday.”
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On the opposite aspect of the storage, Hamilton lamented the set-up adjustments that took away a few of the confidence he had en path to topping the FP1 timesheets, whereas additionally admitting that his lengthy FP2 “wasn’t excellent”.
“FP1 was excellent, [but in] FP2 [the] steadiness was a bit of off. I made some adjustments from FP1 to FP2, they usually simply weren’t proper, so [it was a] a little bit of a battle in FP2 with simply a whole lot of oversteer – that was primarily my limitation. We’ll make some adjustments in a single day, however apart from that we’re comparatively aggressive – we’re proper there,” he stated.
On how the weekend is shaping up in comparison with Brazil, the place Mercedes scored a one-two, he added: “I feel it feels a bit of bit nearer. I feel the Crimson Bulls look a bit of quicker right here, which is to be anticipated. We did not anticipate this to be our strongest race. However we will work exhausting in a single day, typically we’re good there so hopefully we are able to put up combat.
Mercedes go into the season finale trying to reverse a 19-point deficit to Ferrari within the battle for second within the constructors’ standings, with 44 factors up for grabs throughout Sunday evening’s Grand Prix.