George Russell has told reporters that he thinks Mercedes have a long and tough route back to the top as Red Bull and Ferrari fast become the top contenders of 2022.
While Russell remained higher up the chain than his seven-time world champion teammate, Hamilton was scrapping with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in an unfamiliar midfield.
The team ultimately concluded round two of the 2022 season with Russell in fifth and hamilton 10th but were up to 1s off the pace of the leaders during parts of the race.
Speaking in the aftermath of Sunday’s battle, 24-year-old Russell said: “We are definitely not out of it but if we don’t manage to find some improvements there is no way we will be fighting for this championship,” said the 24-year-old.
“We are not giving up. Even if we continue like this for the next five, six, seven or eight races we are still going to be in touching distance and there is no reason we can’t overturn it.
“We need to see how things look by the time we get halfway through the season. Everything can change.
“I don’t see any reason why we will make any strides forward.
“We are the third-fastest team at the moment and closer to the fourth than we are to second, so it’s going to be more of the same in the coming races.”
Meanwhile, team principal, Toto Wolff, said their lack of performance is an “exercise in humility.”
“We had the luxury of being in the middle of those fun games for the past eight years and it is extremely painful not to be part of it,” he said.
“We’re not going to rest until we are back in the mix.
“It’s no fun at all, it’s an exercise in humility, and it’s going to make us stronger in the end, even though it’s not funny right now.”