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What does Russell's impressive run mean for his F1 title chances?

What does Russell's impressive run mean for his F1 title chances?

29 June - 19:42 Last update: 20:39
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The Canadian Grand Prix marked the ninth consecutive top-five finish for George Russell. The Mercedes newcomer has not finished lower than fifth since his switch from Williams and has scored three podiums in 2022, despite the uncompetitive W13 in which he had to do so. How does the rest of the season look for the young Briton, and does he still have a chance of the world title?

The streak of nine consecutive top-five finishes is impressive, especially given the material in the early stages of the season. However, Russell is not yet breaking any records worthy of mention: he is nowhere near the record of nineteen consecutive podium finishes held by Michael Schumacher. In a dominant period between the 2001 United States Grand Prix and the 2002 Japanese Grand Prix, the former Ferrari star driver finished nineteen consecutive podium finishes.

Title chances for Russell?

The number of points finishes in a row is also a long way off for the Briton: that record is held by his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished in the points 48 times in a row between the 2018 British Grand Prix and the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.

However, breaking records will currently be one of the last things on Russell's list. The Mercedes driver has his sights set on his first-ever victory and even hopes to pose a serious threat to Max Verstappen in the battle for the championship.

The 2022 Formula One season has not yet reached its halfway stage, so in theory, anything is still possible. However, while Mercedes were able to take full advantage of the bad luck of others in the first few races, the gap to rivals Red Bull Racing and Ferrari is starting to get serious. The gap between Verstappen and Russell is now 64 points and in the constructors' standings the difference is even greater: Mercedes has conceded 116 points to Red Bull Racing. With forty points the gap to Ferrari is considerably smaller, but the Italian team has already suffered a number of scrapes.

Too late for Mercedes?

But what does Russell's consistent performance mean for his possible title chances? At Silverstone, Mercedes expect to be truly competitive for the first time, but Toto Wolff has already backed down somewhat, saying that his team still has a gap to close. Meanwhile, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is seriously considering the scenario of his 2021 rivals coming to Silverstone with a strong update package.

If the German team wants to grant Russell's wish and give him a chance at the world title this year, it will have to come up with something really good at Silverstone. Unless Mercedes can fight back for victory this weekend, the team will have to give up hope.

Even if the team is competitive at Silverstone, it remains to be seen whether it will be so at subsequent races. The Barcelona race, for example, gave a somewhat distorted impression of the W13's capabilities, as the subsequent races in Monaco and Baku proved. In addition, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari have not been idle: while Mercedes has been working hard to solve its problems, the competition has been developing vigorously. Mercedes has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to be a serious threat in the championship.

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