Wolff says Russell's thoughts about loss of form 'a myth'

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Toto Wolff says George Russell's belief that he has lost his form is "a myth" that the Mercedes boss is making every effort to remove from the Briton's psyche.

For all of Mercedes chronic issues in 2022, Russell enjoyed a strong debut season with the Brackley squad that culminated with his maiden Grand Prix victory, a feat achieved in Brazil at the penultimate round of the season.

The Briton also outscored teammate Lewis Hamilton by 35 points in the Drivers' championship. But while he has continued to gather points this year, Russell's consistency hasn't matched his 2022 campaign.

Addressing his own form, he candidly expressed dissatisfaction with his performances leading up to the summer break.

"This season can be divided into two distinct halves," he noted. "The initial six races showcased my strength, but the latter six races, not so much."

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At Zandvoort last weekend, Russell qualified third, well ahead of Hamilton who missed the Q3 cut. However on Sunday, a messy race hampered by a poor strategy call in challenging conditions ultimately left the Briton a lowly P17 at the checkered flag.

Russell's display in the Dutch Grand Prix was first and foremost a reflection of the event's chaotic development. But it will have done little to improve his belief that he's hit a rough match this season, a perception that Wolff dismisses.

"I’ve never bought into this thought," Wolff told the media last weekend.

"When you and I are having a bad day nobody knows but if a driver has a bad day and he’s probably a tenth off, that makes all the difference in the qualifying.

"So all drivers have days that are not so good and we’ve seen these ups and downs with George but the quality of driver I’ve never doubted a minute.

"[In qualifying] he was able to shine, put the car on P3, had a problem-free qualifying and no traffic so I haven’t seen any pattern change."

Nevertheless, as Russell questions the moment, Wolff is doing his best to fend off the demons surrounding his driver.

"I’m trying to really bang it into his head that he hasn’t lost his form, that it is just the myth that he’s making up," said the Mercedes F1 boss.

"You don’t unlearn to drive and you don’t lose your form. You can have ups and downs like all of us have but every single weekend when things have gone against him, it was pretty clear why that was and it wasn’t the driving."

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