For as long as the 2022 World Championship will be spoken about, particularly from a Mercedes perspective, one will quote George Russell’s valiant performance at Italy. The recently-concluded Grand Prix, the fourth race of the season, culminated in a difficult race weekend for the mighty Mercedes team.
Their troubles were exacerbated by the fact that multiple championship-winning racer Lewis Hamilton failed to finish in points. But even then, George Russell, so new to Mercedes, emerged with a fighting fourth in the end.
George Russell’s had it tough even prior to the start
But there again, the noted British driver’s race was anything but easy. And even before one dives into what made the 63 lap contest a hard-fought contest, in particular, for the new Mercedes recruit, it makes sense to gather where he began the Grand Prix from.
This is why it must be asked whether the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, ultimately aced by Max Verstappen, could have been any easier for George Russell since he began from – lest it is forgotten- eleventh on the grid?
It’s one thing to gather a P11 upon the conclusion of the qualifying session (this was the sprint race result) on a dry track, but something quite different and excruciatingly tough when you are to contend for sixty three consecutive laps on a twisty wet surface.
But while to his good fortune, an early skirmish in the opening lap, seconds from the race start, saw Russell move up into the points place, he must be duly credited for challenging the Haas of Kevin Magnussen from as early as lap 11. It would be a battle he’d ace eventually but truth be told, Russell had more than his share of problems even as he was battling for sixth at the front end of the midfield.
The familiar porpoising problem, which has already been the key talking point (if also the concern area for Mercedes), ever since the curtain raising Bahrain Grand Prix of 2022 would play out massively at Imola. Whilst on paper, it may not seem all that much to deal with since porpoising is, essentially speaking, a Formula 1 car bouncing in the end, to those who face the challenge, have to face its true ire.
That being said, how severe was the porpoising issue faced by the King’s Lynn-born?
What was the issue plaguing George Russell at Imola?
“The bouncing, it really takes your breath away. It’s the most extreme I’ve ever felt it,” confessed George Russell. But he wouldn’t just stay there; he’d add more on how the problem actually impacted his race. It’s something knowing which tell you just why his fourth at Imola was truly a hard fought race result in the end.
The 24-year-old would add the following:
“Bouncing finds a solution, because it’s not sustainable for the drivers to continue. This is the first weekend I’ve truly been struggling with my back, and almost like chest pains from the severity of the bouncing.”
Meanwhile, that being said, the following is what Mercedes’ Toto Wolff had to say about George Russell’s world famous teammate, the seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton:
“In a way it’s irrelevant whether you come in eighth, or 12th or 15th, it doesn’t matter – it’s all bad. But the real stars they recover, there is none of the truly great ones that didn’t have certain moments in their careers where things didn’t run properly. That is the case now with him and he is going to help the team sort it out. We will stick together through good and bad days and Sunday was certainly a very bad day.”