George Russell blames the Suzuka surface for massive tire degradation 

Lewis Hamilton has already conceded that it's impossible for Mercedes to win this weekend.


George Russell blames the Suzuka surface for massive tire degradation 

George Russell (Via IMAGO)

Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell failed to extract the pace they were able to get from W14 last week at Singapore during the first and second practice sessions at Suzuka. One of the primary reasons behind the underwhelming run was the limited grip of the track offered. Russell pointed out that the “strange” track surface at Suzuka has resulted in significant tire degradation and could potentially lead to a three-pit stop race.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Suzuka International Circuit in Japan was inaugurated in 1962 and originally served as a Honda test track. The track made its Formula 1 debut in 1987 and has been a consistent fixture on the Formula 1 calendar ever since. Suzuka is renowned for presenting a unique set of challenges, characterized by its closely spaced corners and a unique layout. This season, the challenge seems to be the new asphalt.

Acknowledging these challenges, George Russell claimed that the asphalt laid in Turns 3, 4, and 7 are creating significant difficulties. He expressed that this unexpected behavior of the asphalt could result in an additional pit stop during the race due to tire degradation.

There seems to be a huge amount of tire degradation. Here, the tire degradation looks probably closer to a three-stop at the moment than it is a one-stop, to put some perspective on it. But I think it will be a two-stop for everybody on Sunday. We will see what happens,” said George Russell, as reported by Autosports.com

ADVERTISEMENT

Discover: Lewis Hamilton vows to help teammate George Russell recover after ‘really unfortunate’ podium miss at Singapore GP

Lewis Hamilton stated that “it’s not possible” for Mercedes to win this weekend

Following his P14 finish during the practice session, Lewis Hamilton doubted Mercedes’ chances of winning this weekend. He also noted that they had high expectations with their performance at Suzuka after The Singapore GP.

Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes (Image credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

A bad day, to be honest,…A real struggle out there. A long way off: two seconds off in the first session, over a second off in the second. So it’s working away, trying to fix the car, fix the balance,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton also acknowledged the challenges they are facing with their W14. He claims the W14 has not performed well in high-speed corners this year, reducing the hope of replicating the strong form they demonstrated at the Singapore Grand Prix last weekend.

ADVERTISEMENT

It’s an area where we need to work on getting the car in a bit more of a sweet spot and not overheating our tires as much. But we’ll work on it overnight and try to turn it around for tomorrow. But we definitely won’t be winning this weekend,” he added.

In case you missed it: