Russell on Mercedes' 2022 F1 title ambitions: 'Everything can change'

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George Russell will wait until mid-season before judging Mercedes' title hopes in 2022, insisting "everything can change".

The eight-time defending Constructors' champions are having a tough start to the new season as porpoising problems with their W13 car leave them trailing far behind the pacesetting Ferraris and Red Bulls.

But Russell believes it is still way too early to rule Mercedes out of the Formula 1 title picture, even if their current lack of pace continues for a prolonged period.

“It’s two races,” the Briton was quoted by Pitpass after the Saudi GP. “So we are definitely not out of it.

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"For sure, if we don’t manage to find some improvements there’s no way we’ll be in with a shot of fighting for this championship, but we’ve definitely not given up.

“We have come away from the first two races as the third-best team. I don’t know what the championship looks like but even if we continue for the next five, six, seven, eight races we will still be in touching distance, I would say.

“There’s no reason why we can’t overturn it. We need to see how things look by the time we get to halfway through the season. Everything can change.”

At this point, Russell sits fourth in the Drivers' standings, 23 points behind early leader Charles Leclerc, while Mercedes is still second in the Constructors' 40 points behind Ferrari.

"It's a very long season, I think we've all got confidence that if we do things right, there's no reason why we can't close the gap and potentially overtake," George added.

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"But we equally appreciate and recognise that Ferrari and Red Bull will continuously improve as well.

"So, we could close up by six-tenths [but] there’s no reason why they can't extend by another six-tenths as well."

Mercedes is expected to bring some upgrades to Australia in the hope of unlocking performance, in particular a new rear wing aimed at reducing drag.

However, team boss Toto Wolff concedes there is no immediate solution to Mercedes' problems on the way to Melbourne.

“We are in a learning race and the first two weekends have shown we still have plenty to learn,” he said in his pre-race preview.

“At the moment, our track performance is not meeting our own expectations, but everyone at Brackley and Brixworth is focused on understanding the problems and finding the right solutions.

“There won’t be a magic fix for the next race weekend, but we’re pushing to steadily bring gains over the upcoming races, to hopefully move us closer to the front of the pack.

"Until then, we need to maximise each opportunity and make the most of the package we have.

“So, there are various challenges ahead of us, but that’s something we relish and is when a team really shows its true spirit.”