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Russell targets Singapore win using ‘strategic advantage’ over Ferrari

Briton and Mercedes took advantage of a sudden charge of speed from the W14

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George Russell hopes to unleash a secret weapon against Ferrari to overhaul the Scuderia at the Singapore Grand Prix. 

George Russell will start tomorrow's Singapore Grand Prix from P2 (Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media Pool/ Wolfgang Wilhelm
George Russell will start tomorrow’s Singapore Grand Prix from P2 (Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media Pool/ Wolfgang Wilhelm)

Russell and Mercedes have enjoyed an upturn in pace in Singapore. Despite Ferrari leading all three practice sessions, Mercedes have been on pace with the Scuderia. Both cars finished inside the top six on Friday, with Russell improving to P2 in Saturday’s final practice.

This run of form continued in qualifying. Russell finished P2 in Q2, taking advantage of Red Bull’s shock double elimination. The Briton sensed an opportunity for pole position in Q3. His first run proved a challenge, finishing 0.630s away from the lead Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.

Pushing hard on his final lap, he ended Q3 in P2, just 0.072s away from his second career pole position. Speaking after qualifying, Russell was buoyed by the result. As reported by, he confirmed his confidence in the W14. He stated he was”really happy with this weekend as a whole”, revealing he feels “really confident in the car”.

Strategic weapon

Russell praised the team for its strategy calls, revealing Mercedes has one set of additional medium tyres available. The Briton said that this sets up an “exciting race” for the Silver Arrows:

“The team did a great job with the strategy. We’re on an offset strategy compared to everybody else. We’ve got an extra set of medium tyres tomorrow, which nobody around us has.

“So to get to Q3 and be on the front row with a strategic advantage tomorrow is exciting place to be.”

Revealing further detail, Russell said the aim is to put Ferrari under pressure and force a mistake from the team, Sainz or Leclerc: “I think it’s gonna be very close between a one and a two stop. With our mediums, we can put Ferrari in a difficult position and try and force them into an error and get the upper hand, so that’s what we’re looking for.”

Sainz wary of Mercedes

Polesitter Sainz admitted race pace remains a mystery to the team, labelling it “a bit of a question mark”. Revealing the team can struggle in races, he said the team has made progress in understanding its pace issues. He added Singapore’s characteristics have historically suited Ferrari: “We know our weakness it’s always the race pace and it’s where we always pay the price.”

“But I think the team has been doing a great job over the last couple of weekends to understand the package, understand the car. “I think we’re definitely making a bit of progress, keeping in mind that this circuit has always suited the Ferrari quick well.”

When asked about Mercedes’s tyre choices, he said Mercedes had pace but was focusing on his own race: “Mercedes is normally a bit quicker than us come race day, they have a bit of a different strategy with the tyres that we will have to keep an eye on.

“But if I focus in my own race, put together a good first stint, and a good stint on hards then I think we can still target the win.”

Russell also revealed the conditions in the cars during the stoppage after Lance Stroll’s Q1 accident made for a “challenging session” resembling a sauna: “When you’re sat in that car, it’s like you’re sat in the sauna, just sweating it out.”

“But you have got to keep your composure, stay cool.”

Feature Image Credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Media Pool/ Jiri Krenek

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