The British driver had sparked hopes that he would be in contention potentially even for pole in qualifying with a really strong performance on Friday in the two practice sessions.
Indeed, he was close to Charles Leclerc as he went second quickest in FP1 whilst he topped the timesheets in FP2 and, naturally, that would have given him hope ahead of a potentially competitive weekend.
However, qualifying suggested that the team had made a step back in terms of tuning the car ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, with him only able to go 12th fastest and he revealed that the porpoise effect had gotten worse over the course of the weekend as he reflected on the session.
“I’m a bit confused to be honest,” Russell said post-qualy.
“The car was bouncing a lot more again.
“My qualifying lap was slower than the one I did in second practice yesterday. We just didn’t attack any of the corners. There was potential in there, we saw that yesterday.
“We were really quick, but it was massively away from us today. It’s all a bit inconsistent to be honest. When we get it into the window, it’s fast.
“Yesterday, it looked like we were in the fight for pole, but today we were 12th so it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.”
It was certainly exciting to see Russell potentially in the mix for pole ahead of qualifying but, as has been the case for Mercedes this year, things fell away when it started to matter.
He’ll feel he has the pace to make progress up the field in the Grand Prix, though, and so we’ll just have to see how that particular challenge unfolds for the Briton.
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