2023 Brazilian Grand Prix, Saturday – Steve Etherington
- George Russell finished fourth and Lewis Hamilton seventh in Saturday’s F1 sprint at Interlagos, Brazil.
- In the Saturday morning sprint shootout, both pilots comfortably advanced to Q3. There they used a new set of soft tires and took 4th and 5th on the F1 afternoon sprint grid.
- Both subsequently got off to a good start in the 24-lap race as George overtook Sergio Pérez and Lewis followed at turn four. George then passed McLaren’s Lando Norris at turn 10 to move into second place.
- Unfortunately, this promising start faded as both Norris and Pérez used DRS to regain the positions they had lost, relegating George to 4th and Lewis to 5th by the mid-race.
- As the sprint approached its final stage, both drivers struggled with tire degradation, allowing Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and Yuki Tsunoda’s Alpha Tauri to overtake Lewis.
- When the checkered flag fell in the 24-lap race, George crossed the finish line in 4th place and Lewis in 7th place.
- Attention now turns to Sunday’s Grand Prix, where Lewis will start from fifth and George from eighth
“I had a good first round, but then it was a struggle. We expected the tire degradation to be less than it turned out to be. We definitely didn’t expect to be the absolute fastest, but we were surprised by the pace compared to those in front of us. It all came down to the tires. Sometimes we seem to succeed in getting them to work, other times we struggle. It’s a shame, but today we obviously got it wrong where others didn’t. We have to fix that by tomorrow. The track will be a bit cooler on Sunday, which may tip things more in our favor. Of course, we will also learn from today and make some changes. It’s likely to be a two-stop race, but I’m not as optimistic ahead of tomorrow’s Grand Prix as I was this morning.”
“It was not a pleasant race. We started well and managed to get a position on Sergio Pérez. But after that we really struggled with balance. We had a lot of understeer, then oversteer and I was fighting the car from the start. I ran out of tire grip in the final stages and I can only assume that we set it up wrong. We’ll have to find a way to make some changes for tomorrow. I’m afraid it’s going to be a long afternoon if we can’t improve something. Of course I will fight as hard as I can and try to handle the tires a bit better than we were able to do today.”
THIS IS WOLFF, TEAM CHIEF AND CEO
“It was a difficult day. We pushed hard at the start of the race and paid for it in the later stages. The car was not optimally balanced, the rear was not strong enough to support the front. You have to drive the car on the edge of a knife, but it is almost impossible. Both drivers tried to keep the pace, but we didn’t give them the car to do it today. Both subsequently slid a lot more than they would have liked and it showed on the tires. We have to tonight and work on what we can do to make it better tomorrow. There are no easy solutions, but we will do our best.”
ANDREW SHOVLIN, TRACK ENGINEERING DIRECTOR
“Today was not a good race for us. We probably pushed too hard at the start and it took a few laps to realize that we just didn’t have the speed to fight for the top three positions. This damaged the tires and caused us to suffer high levels of tire degradation in the closing stages. We know we have what we have in terms of setup and that there are only a few tools we can play with to improve. So we know that making a big step in performance for tomorrow is out of the question. However, there are a few things we can use to balance the car and it’s clear that we need to learn a bit about how we use the tires during the stint. It could be a bit cooler tomorrow and that might help; But not so much that the tires are in a drastically different operating window. It is therefore essential that we move forward overnight if we are to avoid another tough race on Sunday.”
Source: Mercedes AMG-PETRONAS Formula One Team
Formula 1 – ROLEX GRANDE PRÊMIO DE SÃO PAULO 3.-5.11.2023