Difficult Saturday in Suzuka for George
George ends Qualifying in P8 after a tricky Saturday in Suzuka.
With yesterday’s rain gone, George made good use of the valuable dry track time, taking to the track on the Medium compound as soon as the green light shone.
Setting a 1.37.989 on his first run, he quickly improved to put in his best Medium run time of 1.36.627 before pitting to switch onto the Softs.
Focusing mainly on Soft tyre running, George continued to find time throughout the session to end FP3 in P6 with a 1.31.530 and 28 laps on the board ahead of the all-important Qualifying.
In Q1, the team rolled the dice and started the session on the Medium tyres with the Brit putting himself into the top five on his first run.
Switching to the Softs, George put in his best time of 1.30.865 to claim a spot in Q2 in P7.
Taking to the track for Q2, George slotted into P9 with a 1.30.702 on his first flying run before returning to the garage.
In the closing moments of the session, George re-joined the track to put in one last run, snatching a place in Q3 in P7 as the chequered flag flew.
In the final Qualifying session, George moved into P5 with a 1.30.957 but was pushed down the order to P8.
Despite improving on his lap time, George ended Qualifying in P8 and will line up from the fourth row on the grid.
George Russell – Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One™ Team Driver
P8 is not where we hoped to be qualifying here in Suzuka. We didn't expect to quite be in the fight with Red Bull and Ferrari, but we are a long way off them, and in fact had our own close battle today with Alpine. We know that our car has a lot of drag and on circuits like this, where you need a lot of downforce but also to be slippery on the straights, we tend to lose out. That's something we are working towards correcting for next year, but it takes time to do so. Looking ahead to the race, I think we will have stronger pace than we showed today: our long runs in FP3 were decent, but I'm not sure if it will be enough to race the top four cars tomorrow.