George Russell insists he is “not concerned” by his struggles in the United States Grand Prix because the Circuit of the Americas has “always been a bogey track for me.”

All weekend, Russell was unable to be on level terms with team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished five places and 22s ahead.

Starting fifth, Russell lost out three positions at the start and was only able to recover to seventh, losing out to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez when Mercedes ran long on both stints.

Having admitted earlier this year that his side of the garage had squandered “over 60 points”, Russell believes his Austin weekend encapsulated his entire 2023 campaign.

The Briton suspects that a podium was possible, something only heightened later on when Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were disqualified for excessive plank wear.

“Story of the season really, it feels, of missed opportunities,” Russell, who therefore inherited fifth position, lamented.

“On the back foot from the beginning, making a bad start. And then we put a Hard tyre on and we had to manage the fuel, we had to manage the engine a little bit.

“We were about second off the pace and we put the Medium back on and we were the quickest car on track. Closed in on Max [Verstappen] by about 10 seconds and on Lewis by a couple of seconds.

“So standing here, I’m thinking it was definitely another missed opportunity and frustrating we weren’t on the podium.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day

Russell has denied that the Sprint format only allocating one practice hour for the drivers to set up their cars contributed to his sizeable performance deficit to Hamilton.

The ex-Williams driver also explains that the bumpy nature of the COTA track makes it an outlier on the F1 calendar, leaving him unperturbed by the troubles he encountered.

“We had that last weekend and it was one of my strongest weekends in Qatar,” he said.

“To be fair, Austin’s always been a bit of a bogey track for me. I’ve always struggled a bit here. It’s probably always been one of his strengths, this circuit.

“But I’m not too concerned because it feels like this is definitely a bit of an outlier with how bumpy it is. Really old tarmac with all the subsidence and cracks around it. So I’m not concerned.”

Instead, Russell attributes his inability to maximise the potential of the car to ending up on the wrong side of “fine margins” at varying points across the race weekend.

“When I look at the pace today, I think that last stint was a really good example of what the potential was,” he highlighted.

“It’s often fine margins. I was off the pace in qualifying and come Q3, the pace was there again. And then on the Medium tyres in Sprint qualifying, I was ahead in SQ1 and SQ2 but then I didn’t have a new tyre in SQ3, so it’s just one of those where we were just on the back foot from the beginning.

“As I said, It just feels like the story of the year. I think last year, I don’t think we ever missed an opportunity probably once in 22 races, whereas this year it feels like 50% of the races we’ve been far from maximising the points.”

Although he was made to rue his own weekend prospects, Russell admits he was “100%” buoyed by the evident progress Mercedes made with its latest floor revision.

Hamilton, who exclaimed on Friday it was the first upgrade he’s felt in two years, utilised the updated W14 to come within 2.2s of usurping Verstappen for the on-track win.

“It’s probably exceeded my expectations this weekend, the upgrade,” Russell expressed.

“It’s definitely exciting, heading into next year, what I think we’ll be capable of achieving. So things are definitely looking in the right step.”

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