George Russell feels that Mercedes had their “normal pace” back at the Singapore Grand Prix, so much so that he believes the car was capable of winning.
The Briton faced a tough evening at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, having started from the pit lane after taking on new power unit elements ahead of the race.
Russell made steady progress through the field before being involved in an incident with the Haas of Mick Schumacher, and he eventually finished down in 14th, while teammate Lewis Hamilton ended the day in P9.
Though events may have gone against them in Singapore, Russell was pleased to see the progress that the team have made.
“Firstly, confidence [has been] restored that we fixed the car today,” Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com, after the race.
“Our normal pace was back, and we definitely had a car this weekend that was capable of winning. So that’s one thing ticked off, let’s say.”
Russell gives verdict on incident with Schumacher
Both Russell and Hamilton faced various obstacles during the weekend in Singapore, and Russell thinks that he could potentially have finished further up the field had it not been for his run-in with Schumacher.
“It’s just a bit of a shame how this weekend has unfolded,” the Silver Arrows driver said.
“We were very, very fast today. I think, had it not been for that incident with Mick, we would have finished inside the top 10, definitely.
“[I’m] not too sure what happened there, but it’s just the way Formula 1 goes sometimes. We’ve had such a great run of form and, as a team, I feel like we’ve been pretty flawless all season.
“But obviously today, and all this weekend, [things have] gone against us.”
Decision to switch to slick tyres explained
With changing track conditions in the race following earlier rainfall, Russell took an early gamble to switch from Intermediate tyres to slicks.
While he admits that the decision did not pay off initially, the 24-year-old remains confident in Mercedes’ progress.
“I was asking to pit for a new set of Inters,” Russell explained.
“In that situation, I trust the team, the team trust me. They thought it was time to go on slicks and try something.
“Obviously, at the time, it was totally the wrong decision, but it did pay dividends later down the line, because when we had that Safety Car at the restart, I overtook three cars in one lap, and was up to P11 before that incident with Mick.
“So it goes both ways, we had to try something. But I think we showed we are making a lot of progress, and that gives me optimism for the rest of the year.”