George Russell warns Ferrari that Mercedes not ‘a million miles away’ after Azerbaijan GP

Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?

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George Russell has warned Mercedes are ‘not a million miles away’ from Ferrari and Red Bull after picking up his third podium of the season. The former Williams man claimed he was in ‘no doubt’ Mercedes could still challenge for wins this season despite the difficult start.

The Silver Arrows suffered from bouncing issues in Azerbaijan and appeared to be around one second slower than Red Bull and Ferrari on Saturday. It comes just weeks after the team believed they had solved their issues in Barcelona when Lewis Hamilton was setting a similar race pace to the leaders.

Russell was asked whether he felt Mercedes could still compete with their current package this season. He responded: “Yeah no doubt. I don’t think we’re a million miles away from it.

“Every different session and every different run we’re trying different things on the car and we’ve got to gather all this information.

“Every single track we go to we’ve got a slightly different issue as well and we’re just getting this global picture.” Russell also appeared to suggest Mercedes could go back to the drawing board in a desperate bid to close the gap to the leaders.

He said the team had to work out whether their current car ‘is the right concept’ and warned there was ‘no guarantee’ their design had the potential to compete.

He added: “Nothing’s off the table. We’ve obviously got a drastically different concept to every other team, we need to think, ‘Is that the right concept? Do we need to try anything different?’ We believe what we’ve got offers the most amount of potential but there’s no guarantees.”

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Russell’s podium continues his fine run of top-five finishes at every race this season. The result leaves him just 51 points behind championship leader Max Verstappen and extends his advantage over team-mate Hamilton.

The seven-time champion is now 37 points behind Russell and 88 behind Verstappen. Russell’s admission comes just days after Damon Hill warned the team should give up on their concept and look at next season.

He said: “They’ve got little room to manoeuvre with this car they have. They’re going to have to look forward further down the line whether they can do a major revamp of the car and get it into the winning category for the end of the season.

“I think it is looking more like they have to sort out what it is they’ve done wrong now, get a good handle on it from the middle of the season and prepare for next year. I’m not saying they can’t win races but as far as the title goes they’re a long way off.”

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