Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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George Russell will start the Singapore Grand Prix from the pit lane after a last minute decision by Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have fitted new power unit elements onto the Briton’s car ahead of the race after a difficult qualifying session.
Russell was unable to get into the final part of qualifying as he struggled in the mixed conditions. He was due to start the race from P11 before Mercedes took the opportunity to fit the components.
Russell has been fitted with a new internal turbocharger, MGU-H, MGU-K , energy store and control electronics. Meanwhile, team-mate Lewis Hamilton was quick enough for P3 and was less than one-tenth of a second off pole position.
After qualifying, Russell stressed he was “bitterly disappointed” after Mercedes showed potential on Friday. The car looked like it could challenge the frontrunners in the dry conditions but appeared to struggle more in the wet.
The former Williams star revealed he was also struggling with brake issues which he hopes can be resolved ahead of the race. He explained: “I was struggling with a brake-related issue, pushing me into the corners. The grip felt good, I just couldn’t get around any corners.
“I kept understeering off, which is such a shame. I don’t think we’d have been any better in Q3, because of that problem. We’ve seen some indications in the data and I hope we can resolve it until tomorrow.
“Obviously, it’s disappointing for myself and the whole team as the car was looking strong here. Lewis was really fast, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it work. It’s still an encouraging weekend for us all in all, but obviously, we’re here to score points and ultimately this is a qualifying track.”
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Russell apologised to the team over radio moments after the chequered flag, again blaming his brake issues for lack of pace. He said: “Sorry about that I really struggled. Exactly the same issue as in practice. Ahhh.”
Russell leads Hamilton by 35 points in the world championship after finishing in the top five at every race he has finished this season. However, the record could be under threat at a circuit which is likely to be difficult to overtake.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added: “George had braking issues with his car so, unfortunately, he didn’t have the right equipment to fight for a top position and we need to find out what the cause is.
“We were hoping that this weekend would go well because our simulations had predicted it and that reflects our growing understanding of the car; generally, it seems that we are heading in the right direction, especially for next year.”
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