Frustrated George Russell explains early qualifying elimination

George Russell was left frustrated to only qualify 11th for Saturday's sprint race at the Chinese Grand Prix.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

George Russell was frustrated to miss out on the chance to reach the final part of qualifying for the F1 Chinese Grand Prix sprint race.

The Mercedes driver failed to join teammate Lewis Hamilton in SQ3 after missing out on the top-10 by just 0.038s, leaving him only 11th on the grid.

Russell had a scrappy first lap as he struggled to generate temperature into his medium tyres before a late rain shower scuppered his hopes of improving.

“It wasn’t easy, at all,” Russell told Sky Sports F1. “That lap in Q2, we tried sending it as early as we could.

“We got stuck behind 12 cars ahead of us, just sat in the pitlane. So we lost tyre temperature.

“It was close. Just one more tenth and you are four or five positions higher.

“Obviously, a shame to be on the bottom end of that. We have got a chance to recover in the sprint race.”

With Hamilton going on to claim a spot on the front row alongside McLaren’s Lando Norris, Russell was left to rue his absence from a wild SQ3.

“I was a little frustrated after the first lap. It was so close to getting into [S]Q3,” he explained.

“Challenging conditions, the rainfall now… who knows what could have happened in Q3?

“In the sprint race, we can recover some positions. Then we’ve got another chance in qualifying.”

Russell added: “The grip is really low here compared to what we expected, for everybody.

“The lap time is three or four seconds lower than anticipated. There are no junior series here like F2 or F3 to help rubber the track in. Everyone is slipping and sliding around.

“We’ve only done practice on the hard tyre, only two laps in qualifying on the medium tyre. It is challenging to judge.

"We have a chance tomorrow to make tweaks overnight.” 

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