Russell: Sprint Shootout 'a total mess from start to finish'

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George Russell was none too pleased with himself or with his Mercedes team after Saturday's Sprint Shootout at Spa, labeling the session "a total mess from start to finish".

Improvements were unfolding at a fast pace on the wet-to-dry track in the final segment of the shootout, which only highlighted the importance of timing to perfection one's flyer.

But a misjudged track positioning of Mercedes' contenders by the Brackley squad proved costly for both Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Russell suffered a moment at Turn 1 which hindered Hamilton from the outset, the two Mercedes drivers tripping over each other for the second time of the weekend.

The pair will line up respectively P10 and P7 on the grid of this afternoon's Sprint.

"It was a total mess from start to finish to be honest," Russell told F1 TV.

"I was surprised I got to Q3 because [there were] so many mistakes from my side and a bit of miscommunication at the end. I was too close to the car in front, Lewis was too close to me.

"We thought we weren't going to make the lap because the clock was running down. But there was definitely more time on the clock than we foresaw, because I think Max was the last car to cross the line."

Russell suggested that his session was a reflection his race weekend so far at Spa.

"It was a total mess this weekend, really, not going to plan," he said. "I hope we can make a bit of a recovery.

"I'm definitely confident we can be quicker in the race, but so far single lap qualifying has been rubbish."

Hamilton was understandably unhappy with how things had panned out and with his team's poor communication as he felt that he had the pace to secure a spot on the front row of Sprint grid.

"Not happy about it, obviously," Hamilton added. "It was looking great; I had that first lap that put me first.

"I reckon I could have been first or second in that session, communication was pretty poor. We got to the last corner and there were seven cars trundling around.

"We were led to believe we had no more time left but it turned out we had plenty of time. And then with George, it is what it is. It doesn't really matter."

On the bright side, the seven-time world champion praised the overall performance of his W14 black arrow at Spa.

"I feel great in the car in all conditions," he added.

"A little bit slower than the Red Bulls in the middle sector, but none of us have driven on heavier fuel, so I'm excited that it's dry today so hopefully we can have a good race."

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