The protagonists of Mercedes shared their impressions at the end of the day at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The protagonists of Mercedes shared their impressions at the end of the day at the Las Vegas Grand Prix. George Russell qualified third with Lewis Hamilton P10 for Saturday night’s Las Vegas Grand Prix. Returning to the track on Friday night, FP3 saw the team gather data from long runs on the medium tire before moving into qualifying preparation on the soft tyre. A red flag at the end of the session left George at the top of the times, but with others unable to show their true pace, there were numerous unknowns heading into qualifying.
After advancing through Q1, the second segment of the session proved more challenging. Lewis was unable to improve on his final effort and, as the track continued to evolve, he fell outside the top 10 by 0.028 seconds. George made it through to Q3 and, using just a set of new soft tyres, made his last ditch effort count to record the fourth fastest time. A drop of 10 places on the grid for Carlos Sainz means he will line up in third position for the race, with Lewis in tenth position.
George Russell, Mercedes AMG F1 driver:
“I am very satisfied with today’s classification. We were always in the top four, but the Ferraris today were one step ahead of everyone. I think fourth position maximized what we had and we were close to Verstappen for third position. With the grid penalty for Sainz, I think third position is a good place to start. The race itself is going to be very complicated.”
“I’m sure there will be a lot of effort for all teams in these cold conditions, but no one knows exactly how it will play out. We may see multiple stops in tomorrow’s race, but whoever manages to keep the tires alive will be a big beneficiary. We had some long and difficult runs and I think the Ferraris are faster than us, not only in a single lap but in race pace. “We will do everything possible to give Leclerc a fight and, hopefully, the race will bring some surprises.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 driver:
“It wasn’t a great qualifying session, but it is what it is. I really struggled with grip and we couldn’t get the tires to work throughout the session. It’s not ideal, but it’s an issue I’ve been dealing with for a while. time. We saw a good amount of track evolution. “It’s not an unreasonable amount, but it was enough to put me out as I couldn’t improve on my last lap in Q2.”
“We’ve seen a lot of graining on the tires throughout practice, so it will be interesting to see if that continues into the Grand Prix. I think tire management, how you put them on and how you progress, in addition to where you push and where you don’t, will be key tomorrow. “We made some changes to the car before FP3 and we hope they will help us in the race.”
Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of Mercedes AMG F1:
“Putting the tires in the right window is still a mystery. You can see the difference between getting it right and not so right with our two cars today. We saw it previously in FP3 and it’s very difficult to optimize it. Lewis had no more grip on his last lap. I think we’re actually talking about just a few degrees Celsius between having grip and not having grip. You can also see this with some surprise eliminations in the first quarter. On the other hand, the Ferraris put in impressive laps and were deservedly the fastest.”
“It will be absolutely vital to manage the tires well in tomorrow’s race, as we have seen a lot of graining in practice. We will have to be patient in the early stages and move forward from there. “We hope that Leclerc and Verstappen, who start ahead of George, will be very fast, but we will see what we can do.”
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes AMG F1 Engineering Director:
“Both drivers made some changes to the car overnight and used final practice to evaluate them. While George was happier with his balance today, Lewis felt he had lost a bit of confidence in the car. We went back to some of those changes before qualifying, but the car wasn’t working for Lewis and in the end he was beaten in Q2 by a small margin.
“George was having a happier time and had three solid races. Today we had no answer for Ferrari’s one-lap pace and they were very strong. We will still be able to start third on the grid, which puts us in a good position.” position to fight for the podium. There are many unknowns ahead of the race., mainly around how the hard tire will heat up and how it will last on long runs. It is clear that Soft and Medium will suffer from granulation at some point if used, so we will have to implement careful management. However, the Hard should allow a little more push and that should open up the race a bit.”