George Russell has dismissed suggestions that the latest Mercedes upgrades are responsible for his recent downtown in form.
After defeating Lewis Hamilton in his debut season with the Brackley-based side, Russell began the 2023 season by out-qualifying his team-mate over the first four rounds.
However, since Mercedes unveiled a revised car in Monaco – including a conventional sidepod structure – Russell has failed to usurp Hamilton in qualifying and succumbed to two Q2 exits in the past three rounds.
But Russell has dismissed any notion that the vast changes made to Mercedes’ W14 charger can be remotely attributed to the struggles he has encountered lately.
When asked if he thought the updates had hurt him, Russell said: “No, I don’t think so. I think it’s just in your rhythm. Sometimes things are going for you.
“The car’s feeling pretty similar to what it did at the start of the year. Some small changes. Nothing to do with the updates. Just sometimes things are just going your way and you’ve got that confidence.
“Sometimes you just lose a bit of confidence and it has a bit of a knock-on effect. Especially when the car isn’t optimal. So, I know it’ll come back. I’m not concerned.”
Alongside being unable to get on terms with Hamilton in qualifying trim, Russell has also been beaten to the chequered flag on a Sunday in each of the last four races.
Consequently, the 25-year-old sits three positions and 34 points behind his seven-time World Champion partner already in the Drivers’ Championship.
Russell, however, argues that the current respective points tallies of the two Mercedes drivers aren’t reflective of how close the intra-team battle has been so far this year.
“I think it’s pure coincidence,” Russell underlined when addressing the contrast in results between himself and Hamilton.
“I think it’s like he [Hamilton] says, very fine margins. I think out of all the teams on the grid we’re statistically the closest of everybody in terms of team-mates. Lewis is obviously a very strong driver.
“Yeah, it’s funny. I think at the start of last year, I think Lewis was on a higher level than I was, yet I was well ahead of him in the championship.
“And now this year, I think we’re at a very close level, and the championships… I’m 40-odd points behind him. Ultimately, that’s the only thing that matters.
“We’re going into this weekend and we’ll see what we can do but certainly the last couple of races haven’t been the best run of form for me.
“But as I said, history now and let’s see what the upcoming races bring.”
Following a surprisingly lacklustre display at the Red Bull Ring last weekend, Mercedes is hoping to rebound with a stronger showing at this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The German marque is set to introduce another major set of upgrades in its bid to fend off Aston Martin and Ferrari in the fight for second place in the Constructors’.
Russell, meanwhile, will be hoping he manages a more prolonged run during his second home experience in Mercedes colours than he did last year.
The Brit collided with Zhou Guanyu at Turn 1 on the opening lap, flipping the Alfa Romeo car upside down and leaving it hurtling towards the barriers and catch-fencing.
Once the race was resumed, Hamilton in the sole remaining Mercedes eventually registered a third-place finish to claim a record 13th podium at Silverstone.