The Brackley-based team had a tricky day of free practice sessions in the Hungaroring. While FP1 went smooth with George going fifth quickest with teammate Lewis taking seventh place in the first session of the weekend, the FP2 went rather rocky.
In between practice sessions Mercedes experimented with setup changes, which caused poor grip and general instability in both cars, but that did not prevent Russell from managing a spot in the top 10, specifically P8, with Hamilton just a few spots behind in P11 with some damage to the floor of his W13 causing him to lose downforce.
“It definitely hasn’t been our smoothest Friday this season, a bit of a strange one because we think it’s going to be wet for qualifying tomorrow and then different again on Sunday,” said Russell.
“We tried quite a few things with the car and used today as a test session so while it’s been a tough day, it’s probably been a productive one. Today was about gathering lessons long-term rather than maximising our lap times, but we were further behind than we probably expected with a couple of issues here and there.
“Tomorrow is going to be a totally new day and Sunday, we’ll be in a different place too.”
Meanwhile, the 7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton agrees that they had some struggles and unpredictable changes from track to track:
“The car was a struggle today, it’s crazy how it swings from track to track and tonight we’ll be working on setup to try and get the car working,” said the brit.
“At the moment, it’s a little loose and not doing what we want it to do. Not much has changed since last week, I’m still the same driver! But for some reason at this track, the car isn’t working as well. In the glimpses where it was working, we were still down a second which was actually similar to last week.
“I didn’t get much chance of a long run at the end because I sustained some damage to my floor and lost a lot of downforce. It’s going to be a tough weekend, but we’ll give it everything.”