'We don't really understand it', George Russell shocked by Mercedes improvements in Miami

After struggling for much of the season, Mercedes looked back to their best during Friday's practice sessions and ended FP2 in 1st and 4th on the timesheet.

George Russell's debut season at Mercedes hasn't gone quite as he'd hoped, but the 24-year-old still finds himself fourth in the drivers standings despite his team's struggles.

But while porpoising and tyre temperatures have so far plagued Mercedes' season, their trip to Miami has so far brought far more success.

The porpoising still remains an issue for the team in high speed areas of the track, but the overall pace of the car seems much better, resulting in George Russell topping the timesheets in FP2, ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Red Bull's Sergio Perez and his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

It's led many to believe that Mercedes will be involved in the battle for pole position on Saturday's qualifying, although admittedly FP3 on Saturday evening will help give a better idea of everyone's one-lap pace.

But without doubt Mercedes look the best they have all season in Miami, and George Russell admitted that the team don't quite understand why they've improved so much.

"We don't really understand it to be honest, why we sort of hit the ground running," said Russell.

"We always knew ahead of this weekend that the conditions should suit us better, because we've been struggling a lot with tyre warm-up, even in Bahrain when the track was really rough.

"But this is the first real hot race of the season. So for sure that's played a factor. The car's working well, but it's only Friday, so not getting carried away."

Mercedes' improvement has F1 fans dreaming of a three-way title battle this season, but while they've impressed around Miami, Lewis Hamilton was quick to point out that the car feels similar to drive.

"We seem to be quicker here, and later on they kind of explained to us that we definitely have improved in some way," Hamilton said.

"I'm not sure where that is. But we still have the bouncing, so we haven't cured it, but I think just bit by bit with improving the car."

Mercedes will look to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari for pole position on Saturday evening, with qualifying starting at 21:00 BST on Saturday, and the Grand Prix scheduled for 20:30 BST on Sunday evening.

READ MORE: Mercedes F1: How does 2022 rank amongst their worst-ever starts?

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