The “total unknown” worrying Russell going into Las Vegas GP 

George Russell admits he is concerned about the “total unknown” surrounding tyre degradation going into F1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix. 
George Russell (GBR) Merce
George Russell (GBR) Merce

The Mercedes driver outpaced teammate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying on his way to securing fourth place, which will turn into third on the grid thanks to Carlos Sainz’s penalty. 

While Russell was happy to get the maximum out of his W14, he revealed he is more worried about how the tyres will perform, a factor he believes will dominate Saturday evening’s race. 

“It came down to confidence,” Russell told Sky. “I felt good in the car. In the qualy runs we knew Ferrari were a step ahead of everybody else. We ended up P4, close to P3 with Max, was definitely the maximum.

“Going into tomorrow, it’s a total unknown. These tyres are just not working around this circuit in race conditions. They are totally falling apart because they are so cold. 

"They are not designed to work in these cold conditions. The team that comes out on top will be the team that manages to keep them alive. If you’re able to keep it within a threshold, it’s an easy one-stop. 

“As soon as you go above that threshold it’s unrecoverable. And you might need to do two or three stops. Right now, we’re all scratching our heads. 

“How are we going to approach the race? We haven’t run the hard tyre yet. Maybe the hard tyre here is just much better than the medium and you won’t be entering the graining. 

“You have to push the tyre to find out, but if you push it and go over the limit, you’re pretty doomed! Right now, it’s a strange one. I really don’t know how to approach the race.”

On his hopes for Saturday evening’s race, Russell added: “I just want a clean race, to be honest. It’s been the scrappiest season of my life. 

“Every clean weekend I’ve had, it’s been when the car is slow. When the car is quick, it’s when everything was up in the air - whether mistakes on my side, or unfortunate strategy, or DNFs. 

“We have to keep an eye on Ferrari, they are only 20 points behind us. They should be on for a one-two, Charles is definitely the favourite. It’s damaged limitation but, if there’s opportunity, we’ll go for it.”

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