F1: George Russell and Lewis Hamilton reveal reasons for Mercedes’ lack of competitiveness at Miami GP

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton will start on the fourth row of the grid after they failed to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari, despite their upgrades this weekend; watch the Miami GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday at 9pm, build-up at 7.30pm

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George Russell reflects on Adrian Newey’s Red Bull departure while discussing the possibility of both Max Verstappen and Newey moving to Mercedes

George Russell feels Mercedes have “overcompensated” with this year’s car in search of a breakthrough in F1’s current rules era, with their underwhelming start to the 2024 season continuing at the Miami GP.

Mercedes brought upgrades to this weekend’s event but both Russell and Lewis Hamilton were knocked out in the second part of Sprint Qualifying, then failed to score points in the Sprint.

They improved in Saturday’s Qualifying but were more than eight tenths adrift of pole-sitter Max Verstappen, as Russell qualified in seventh and Hamilton in eighth.

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  • Miami GP Qualifying report | Miami GP Sprint report
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Twelve months ago, Mercedes abandoned their ‘no sidepod’ car concept, then made further big changes over the winter in a bid to move closer to the front.

The opening six events show that hasn’t happened, as the team are enduring their worst start to a season since 2011.

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Lewis Hamilton says Mercedes struggled to get the maximum potential out of the tyres during qualifying, while George Russell agreed they are a step behind McLaren and Ferrari

“The stopwatch doesn’t lie. We know some of the changes we have made since the end of last year, perhaps overcompensated with some of the development items we did,” Russell told Sky Sports F1.

“We have limitations with the car now, which is a totally different limitation to what we had this time 12 months ago.

“We did so much work to solve the problems and we have kind of gone too far in that direction. We know we need to improve and we need to improve quickly.”

Russell: Mercedes know how to solve problems

It’s not completely clear what limitations Russell is referring to, as this year’s Mercedes has been slower in all areas compared to Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes have not got on top of the current ground effect regulations, which were introduced in 2022.

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George Russell takes Martin Brundle around the tight corners of the Miami International Autodrome circuit

Initially, the data they saw in the wind tunnel didn’t correlate to performance on the track and the team also struggled with a bouncing effect, known as porpoising.

Russell insists Mercedes, who won eighth consecutive constructors’ titles between 2014 and 2021, “definitely know” how to solve their issues.

“When we look at the data, we understand why we are in the position we are right now. When we looked at the data, we understood why we were in the same position,” he added.

“Unfortunately, we probably overcompensated to solve the problems from last year and have gone from this extreme to that extreme and we need to sort of rewind and find ourselves in a halfway house.

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Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reflects on all the big talking points from Qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix

“When new upgrades take eight weeks to enter the car, you learn this problem with Race One, Race Two… you can’t just bring an upgrade to the next race.

“You have to put it in the wind tunnel, you have to design it, you have to draw it, you have to build it and suddenly you are halfway through the season.

“That’s why it’s so difficult when you’re on the backfoot to suddenly make that progress. Everyone expects it tomorrow. We want it tomorrow too, but this is the reality of F1.”

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Highlights of qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix

Hamilton: Mercedes struggling to understand tyres

The W15 has been very inconsistent from session to session, and sometimes even lap to lap, as Hamilton showed in Qualifying when he went third quickest in Q2, but went half a second slower in Q3.

Hamilton says the track temperature throughout Qualifying in Miami was similar, it was simply a case of not getting to grips with the soft tyre which caused a fluctuation in performance.

“These tyres are so sensitive. Trying to get the tyres to work and deliver the maximum potential is something we struggle with,” said the seven-time world champion.

“Then we had that glimpse of hope in Q2 then in Q3 we were nowhere. Generally, it’s been a much better day. We went forwards in the Sprint and then Qualifying, getting into Q3 was positive.

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Lewis Hamilton loses a place to Yuki Tsunoda after Kevin Magnussen goes off the track to defend his position

“Q3 just wasn’t really great but I’m grateful to get into there. For us to be eighth tenths off is tough. We are fighting the Haas and I don’t really know if that’s the true speed of our car or whether it’s the tyres.

“I think there’s a lot in these tyres that we are struggling to… we have not been able to use them all year.”

The Mercedes pair have the McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris directly in front of them on the grid and Russell hopes they can challenge the Woking-based team.

“I expect to be looking forwards and hoping there’s no pressure from behind. P7 and P8 we have to accept is where we are at the moment,” said Russell.

“We are a step behind Ferrari and McLaren, a big step behind Red Bull. The result we showed in Qualifying was the maximum but I’m confident we can make a step forward.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Miami GP schedule

Sunday May 5
6.05pm: F1 Academy Race 2
7.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Miami GP build-up*
11pm: Chequered Flag: Miami GP reaction*
Midnight: Ted’s Notebook*

*also live on Sky Sports Main Event

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