George Russell: Mercedes is “slightly behind” Red Bull as they attempt to win again

George Russell entered Abu Dhabi with the goal of giving Mercedes one more triumph before the season’s finish after claiming his first triumph of his career in Brazil.

After the Abu Dhabi practise, according to George Russell, Mercedes is “a little bit behind” Red Bull as they pursue their second victory of the year.

Russell finished in second place in both of Friday’s practise sessions, with teammate Lewis Hamilton posting the quickest timings in FP1.

The fastest time in FP2 was set by Max Verstappen, who had moved aside to let Liam Lawson pilot his RB18. Max was 0.341 seconds faster than Russell.

Towards the end of their session, Mercedes decided to spend a significant amount of time testing 2023 parts before concentrating their efforts to their race runs.

Russell told the reporters after the session, including, “We had a very strong day in terms of what we’ve learned. We did quite a lot of test items in FP1 going ahead to 2023 and this is one of our last opportunities to test.”

“FP2 was obviously cooler track temperature and it changed completely, but it felt fast out there.

“But I think Red Bull just have the legs on us on a single lap, probably two tenths ahead and a long run maybe even further.”

Compared to Spa Francorchamps, Mercedes is much closer

The W13’s primary shortcoming has usually been its lack of straight-line speed, which peaked in the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this year.

Russell thinks they are a lot closer to Red Bull this time around considering the progress that has been made to determine where their primary car problems are.

“We know they’ve [Red Bull] got a really slippery car down the straights [which] is very efficient, and on a circuit like this we have two long straights and lots of slow speed corners,” the Briton said.

“This suits them down to a tee, so [I’m] pleased we’re much closer than we were [than] let’s say at Spa, where it’s not too dissimilar.”

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Abu Dhabi GP, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, George Russell, Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

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