Russell not experiencing same W15 woes as Hamilton

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George Russell has denied he is enduring the same difficulties behind the wheel of his Mercedes W15 as teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton opened the Australian Grand Prix weekend with a difficult day of practice, explaining that his FP2 outing was one of his worst sessions in some time.

The seven-time World Champion was buoyed after an improved FP3 in which he classified fourth, however his qualifying effort resulted in a Q2 elimination.

Hamilton is set to take the start of the race from 11th on the grid, sharing the sixth row with Williams’ Alex Albon.

After ending his own qualifying session in seventh, Russell revealed the problems befalling Hamilton are not hindering his own car.

“I’m definitely not having the fluctuations in confidence or performance on my side of the garage, or in my car, compared to what Lewis is experiencing,” Russell told media including RacingNews365.

“I’m reasonably happy with how the car is handling. We just don’t have the performance.

“It was a difficult day, but we obviously still qualified in P7. There’s going to be a lot of degradation tomorrow in the race and still a lot to play for.”

Russell expecting race excitement

Russell’s assessment that tyre degradation will play a key role in the outcome of the race is a common-held view among drivers.

Pirelli has opted to bring its softest tyre range (C3, C4 and C5) to Melbourne, a step softer than its allocation from last year.

The Hard tyre will likely be used during the race despite having little mileage during the weekend so far, marking something of a step into the unknown for drivers.

“Every single team has kept two sets of Hards,” Russell said.

“No one has done a single lap on the Hard yet and everybody should be racing at least one set of them. That makes it relatively exciting.

“We saw in Jeddah [this year] and in Melbourne in the last two years that the C2 tyre has been way too resilient for a circuit of this nature.

“So let’s see what the Hard tyre this year has to offer, but I’m definitely expecting a bit more excitement.”

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