George Russell has urged Mercedes to stop “experimenting too much” after again struggling in qualifying.
Mercedes has been short of pace this year, with the manufacturer’s problems often proving to be more evident in qualifying than on race day.
In a bid to close the gap to pacesetters Red Bull and Ferrari, the Silver Arrows have experimented with set-ups across the season and brought regular upgrades to the track, a trend that has continued in France.
But after falling 1.259secs shy of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc around the Paul Ricard Circuit, Russell suggested Mercedes should consider a change of tack.
“When you’re so far off the pace, you want to try everything on your car to try to close the gap,” said Russell.
“And maybe that’s a lesson for us, that we need to almost focus on ourselves and really focus on trying to get the most out of the car rather than experimenting too much.
“But we need to experiment at this moment to see what does work and what doesn’t work. It’s a little bit tricky at the moment.”
Russell – Judge us on Sunday
Russell began the weekend by suggesting Mercedes had an outside chance at taking its first win of the season.
Although this feeling has faded, the Briton does still expect a stronger Sunday than his one-lap Saturday showing.
“There’s definitely optimism because we feel like we do have a direction to keep chipping away at and we do think that we will make good progress,” he added. “Qualifying is the day where you have that clearest pace comparison to your rivals and it it is clearly a bit difficult when we see how far we were from pole.
“But the race is where we need to judge. We do have a faster car than we have done on average this season and hopefully, it is a totally different story this time tomorrow than it is currently.”
Additional reporting by Ian Parkes