George Russell, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2022

Second in championship shows we took best possible result at every round – Russell

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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George Russell scored his first podium finish for Mercedes yesterday and rose to the unexpected heights of second in the world championship.

However he insisted that wasn’t down to the performance of his car which has lagged behind Ferrari, Red Bull and occasionally others this year.

Russell said he was “pleasantly surprised” to leave the third round of the championship in second place behind runaway leader Charles Leclerc.

“It’s credit due to the team for giving us, so far, a very reliable car,” said Russell, who finished third in Melbourne after Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr retired. “We’ve got to be there at the end to capitalise from these results.”

He said his championship position was “definitely not based on pace” but shows they couldn’t have finished higher at any of the three races so far.

“It’s been a respectable start to the season in terms of how we’ve managed to optimise our lack of performance,” said Russell. “Every race we’ve done, we have truly maximised the result possible.

“I don’t think we could have achieved a higher result at any of the circuits as a team and that is, I guess, a silver lining.”

Russell was advised by the team not to try to Sergio Perez behind him as he would risk damaging his tyres and compromising his finishing position. The Mercedes driver said it had been hard to let his rival go.

“It’s difficult when we’re in a podium spot and I want to do everything I can to keep the faster car behind. But ultimately we needed to manage that tyre and the management was worse, or the front left tyre was worse in the last corner and I can’t manage it through there because it will just open it up to Checo behind, especially with their straight-line speed.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
“I really wanted to push it further but I recognised that we probably would have just fell off a cliff if I went even harder. The Red Bull was just too quick for us today.”

He is resigned to having the third-quickest car at best over the coming races as he doesn’t expect Mercedes to bring any significant updates until later in the season.

“Unfortunately there’s nothing substantial in the pipeline anytime soon. It’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to take a number of races.

“I think there’ll be little things, there’ll be incremental steps. But we recognise that our rivals are going to be doing the same so it may not be clear to the outside world that we’ve made progress because Ferrari and Red Bull are going to be making progress as well.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Second in championship shows we took best possible result at every round – Russell”

  1. The kid is delivering as advertised. I think HAM held him up in qualifying. As I said after qualifying, HAM just doesn’t trust the car and isn’t comfortable. RUS is coming from a much worse car so everything feels great to him and he is young so he takes more risks as there is much less history stored in his mind.

    1. Hamilton did not hold him up in qualifying. Russel still improved on his second attempt.
      As for Hamilton not being comfortable, he was literally harrassing a red bull for an on track overtake twice in a single race, first attempt being spoiled by Pérez diving into the pitlane and the second one by Vettel.
      Compare that to Russell who conceded his position to Pérez in a bit silly manner.

      1. I’m actually impressed by how russell defended from perez, and even more impressed that from what I read in the article he sort of gave up to preserve the tyres, imagine if he had tried to defend till the end, he already kept him behind A LOT considering the cars’ speed.

    2. RUS actually benefitted from HAM’s slipstream. He’s doing good sor far picking up the point Jenson Button style.

  2. Russell is much better than Button, Russell is as wily as Butt but has the speed and raw talent to go with it. As a Hamilton fan I recognize the fierce threat that Russell represents.

    Merx have the two fastest drivers on the grid. At 37/38 am impressed that Hamilton, for my money, is edging him, regardless of what the points difference might suggest. And that unlike all the Braketester followers would have you believe, Hamilton has always been prepared to go up against the best, even in his last few years. Even against a dangerous young hot shoe, On EQUAL status within the team.

    I am not convinced Sainz or Perez have truly equal support to win against their team mates within their teams.

    Had my doubts, but am impressed by the respectful way Russell is conducting himself. Felt nothing but contempt for the way Rosberg/Button would fist pump/jeer when they lucked into a win.

    If Russell beats the GOAT, the 8 x FIA Rules F1 champion, over the course of the year, then on current behavior and performance, I will salute him.

  3. I really wonder what happened to sly Toto this year. In previous years he was very willy to make silly compliments about teams actually which were 1sec slower than his team but we couldn’t hear any praise to teams that are faster than their latest silver lemons. It seems someone cuts his snake tongue this year as we don’t see him hiss around a lot.

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