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Russell slates Australian GP DRS zone removal

Russell slates Australian GP DRS zone removal

F1 News

Russell slates Australian GP DRS zone removal

Russell slates Australian GP DRS zone removal

George Russell feels the removal of one of the four DRS zones around the Albert Park track for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix has made it less safe for cars suffering from the porpoising phenomenon.

Russell, who qualified sixth behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton for Sunday’s race, is one of those badly affected by the bouncing caused by the aerodynamic ground effect. The Mercedes driver claims an open DRS reduces the issues.

A DRS zone, however, was removed for safety reasons due to the speeds it allowed cars to achieve through the following corner.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Russell said: “It’s a bit annoying they took away the fourth [DRS zone]. It was kind of counter-intuitive.

“It was meant to be done for safety reasons but having the DRS open through there reduces the porpoising and makes it safer, so it has kind of made it worse for us by reducing the DRS.”

Asked if he agreed with the decision to remove it, he added: “Not really, to be honest. I didn’t see an issue. In Saudi, we had DRS open in probably a far tighter corner and much more blind and there was no issue.”

Russell – “Not a good day” for Mercedes

Despite the porpoising issues, Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were able to secure sixth and fifth on the grid respectively, although the younger Briton was quick to acknowledge the positions mask the true pace of the car.

Pole-sitter Charles Leclerc set a time almost one second faster than Hamilton’s best and while the Mercedes cars were only bettered by the Ferrari, two Red Bulls and Lando NorrisMcLaren, Russell noted others should have also been ahead.

Fernando Alonso missed out on a possible top-three spot in his Alpine after a hydraulic problem sent him into a barrier, while the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was ninth due to a problem getting the car started in the pits.

Russell explained: “Realistically P5, P6, as a result, sounds about where we are, but when you truly look at it, when you look at pure pace, we are probably more P8 and P9 and it’s not a good day.

“We capitalised from others’ mistakes, but we have a lot of pace to find. The biggest thing for me at the moment is still the bouncing.

"I’ve been trying all sorts of things to be on the limit of the bouncing then it’s costing me a lot through the high-speed corners.

“That’s where I lose all my lap time, to be honest. I don’t have the confidence to attack with the bouncing.

"It’s such a unique feeling from within the car and when it is going up and down and up and down you cannot throw it into these high-speed corners. It’s tricky to find the right compromise.”

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