Given the special challenge presented by the Monaco street circuit, George Russell has acknowledged that Mercedes is “forgetting about the upgrades”.
The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, which F1 ultimately postponed due to flooding in the Italian region, was the original aim for the Silver Arrows’ upgrades when they landed in the principality.
Although there was no desire to put off the introduction of the package until the Spanish Grand Prix next weekend, the Monaco Grand Prix does not provide the opportunity to test the changes to their fullest because of the layout’s uniqueness—a tight, winding track.
Russell had trouble setting up in the opening practice, finishing the session in 15th place, and only improved to 12th in final practice. Lewis Hamilton, his teammate, performed better, placing third and sixth.
“Monaco is such a unique circuit, it is not really the place to be evaluating any upgrades or changes,” said Russell. “But we knew that before the weekend so we are almost forgetting about the upgrades and we will worry about that next weekend, just trying to focus on trying to improve around a really unique circuit.”
“Qualifying is obviously the most important part of the weekend and it is a part of the weekend we do generally struggle, we always do better on a Sunday when we look at the last 18 months.
“So we need to try and figure out a load of stuff overnight – there are definitely some positive signs to take away from the session, it is never as easy around this place.”
Russell stated that despite set-up tweaks being made during and after FP1, the significant alterations, which include new front suspension, a new floor, and new aerodynamics- with the ‘zeropod’ concept left behind were not the cause of the performance issues.
“We made a lot of changes, things we would have done on the previous iteration of car as well so nothing unique to these new updates,” Russell explained. “We will work overnight to see what more we can do to try and get more out of the tyre.”
“We know the base performance of the car is good and we normally overachieve on a Sunday and underachieve on a Saturday… So we need to try and flip those over this weekend.
“It is a matter of moments and it is sometimes baked into the car so I am not expecting it to be an easy day… We will work hard and see what we can do.”