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Mercedes hit with dose of realism in Abu Dhabi - Russell
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Mercedes hit with dose of realism in Abu Dhabi - Russell

Mercedes hit with dose of realism in Abu Dhabi - Russell

Mercedes hit with dose of realism in Abu Dhabi - Russell

Mercedes hit with dose of realism in Abu Dhabi - Russell

George Russell believes Mercedes was brought crashing back down to earth across the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend just a week after the British driver's fabulous win in Brazil.

Russell provided Mercedes with the highlight of an otherwise difficult season courtesy of his successes in both the sprint and grand prix in São Paulo to suggest the team's woes were behind it.

A few days later, though, Mercedes' performance at the Yas Island circuit highlighted there remains much to solve over the winter if it is again to be a title-challenging force next season.

Lewis Hamilton and Russell finished seven-tenths of a second behind Verstappen's Red Bull in qualifying. In the race, the latter was 36 seconds adrift of the Dutchman, while his seven-time champion team-mate retired with three laps remaining.

Summing up the weekend, Russell said: "It was a bit of a reality check for all of us, and very much needed because we still recognise we've a lot to do if we want to fight with Red Bull next season.

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"Clearly, we have a car with a huge amount of potential but that performance window is far too narrow.

"The performance swings we've seen, from the highs of Budapest, Brazil, Mexico City and Singapore, compared to the likes of Abu Dhabi, Monza, Spa, are just too vast."

Russell hoping he has seen the last of Mercedes porpoising

Worse still for Hamilton and Russell was the return of the W13's porpoising, not as violent as witnessed earlier in the campaign but nevertheless a concern as the belief was that it had been eradicated.

New rules are being introduced next season that will see the teams run a revised and raised floor designed to firmly negate the porpoising or bouncing effects.

Russell is naturally hoping that Abu Dhabi provided him with the last experience of the phenomenon.

"It was very unique," added Russell, with regard to the feeling of the car in Abu Dhabi.

"We weren't the only team to experience a bit of porpoising this year, but I think the changes the FIA is making with the raised-floor edge is going to be an improvement in that regard.

"It definitely adds a lot of fatigue. I'd forgotten what it was like to drive with the car bouncing around through the corners and down the straight a little bit.

"So I'll be happy if I turn up to Bahrain [for the pre-season test and first grand prix] next year with none of that."

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