George Russell disagrees with Toto Wolff’s ‘undriveable’ Mercedes admission

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Mercedes driver George Russell has disagreed with the 'undriveable' assessment made by team chief Toto Wolff, having secured a fourth-placed finish at Imola.

A woeful qualifying and Sprint for the defending constructors' champions saw both Mercedes start outside the top 10 on the grid, with Russell in 12th and Lewis Hamilton in 14th – but the pair's experiences on race day were significantly different.

While Hamilton could only finish 13th, outside the points for the first time this season, Russell worked his way through the grid in excellent style to come home fourth and maintain his record of a top-five finish in every race this season in the process.

That showed that there was at least some potential in the Mercedes car, which has struggled with 'porpoising' and tyre temperature regulation all season, but Wolff still branded the vehicle as 'undriveable' as he issued a post-race apology to Hamilton.

Former Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg questioned that verdict, pointing to Russell's performances as evidence to the contrary, and the young Brit has now also disagreed with the assessment issued by his team principal.

“When the car and tyres are in the right window the car, except for the bouncing, feels really good to drive," he said in clear disagreement with his chief, though he then admitted: “But the bouncing really takes your breath away. It’s the most extreme I’ve ever felt it.

“I really hope we find a solution and I hope every team who’s struggling with the bouncing finds a solution because it’s not sustainable for the drivers to continue with this level. This is the first weekend where I’ve been truly struggling with my back and like chest pains from the severity of the bouncing. But it’s just what we have to do get the fastest lap times out of the car.”

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The 'porpoising' issues are not unique to Mercedes, with a number of cars on the grid also struggling to find smooth driving following the latest regulation changes in Formula One, but the German manufacturers' rivals have managed to compensate to retain pace.

Ferrari in particular have had a polar opposite experience to Mercedes, having also experienced violent bouncing but still excelling as one of the fastest cars on the track – with the Prancing Horse competing with Red Bull for the title.

Mercedes, therefore, certainly have work to do ahead of the maiden Miami Grand Prix in two weeks time but Russell is at least providing some encouragement in the meantime.

  • Formula One
  • F1
  • George Russell
  • Mercedes

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