George Russell achieved his first podium finish with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team at the Australian Grand Prix, having moved up the grid with a consistent drive, bolstered by a well-timed pit stop under the safety car and the reliability-related retirement of Max Verstappen ahead.
“You’ve got to be in it to win it and capitalise from other’s misfortune, and the guys at Brackley and Brixworth have been working so hard on giving us a reliable car,” said the Briton. “We got a little bit lucky today, probably twice, but we take it.
“There’s so much hard work going on back at base to try and get us back at the front so to be standing on the podium today is [a] special reward for all their hard work. We’re never going to give up, we’ve got to keep on fighting.”
Russell’s podium comes in spite of the struggles the team has had since the start of the season to keep up at the sharp end of the grid pace-wise. He said that the team is still “on the back foot”, but will take advantage of the opportunities they receive to remain competitive. Ultimately, he is confident in the team’s ability to continue developing and rejoin the front of the pack as the season moves forward.
“This weekend we were a long way behind our rivals but here we are standing on the podium. We’ve got to keep this up while we are on the back foot, maximise our points opportunities and I am sure we will get there after a few more races.”
Russell’s third place finish places him second in the Driver’s Championship standings. With three top five finishes under his belt so far in 2022, he has been able consistently remain near the top on race day– devoid of the reliability issues and incidents faced by competitors.
“We definitely didn’t expect to be third and fourth today” – Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton was excited to have achieved the results the team did in Melbourne, and was amazed by the improvement they showed relative to the first two rounds.
“It’s a great result for us as a team, honestly. This weekend we have had so many difficult moments with the car and to get fifth and sixth in qualifying, to have progressed like we have, with the reliability we have, is amazing. We definitely didn’t expect to be third and fourth today.”
Hamilton praised his team-mate’s performance and battle for the podium positions with Sergio Pérez. He wished he would have been able to be in contention for the podium, but said that his overheating engine caused him to stay back.
“George did a great job – I got to see a bit of the battle of him racing Pérez and I wish I could have been in it but nonetheless, we’ll take these points and keep pushing. I couldn’t fight for third because the engine was overheating so I had to back off and sit behind, but we bagged as many points [as] we could as a team and that’s great.”
Currently fifth in the Driver’s standings, Hamilton will be keen to move up the ranks in the coming weekends and continue the positive trajectory of the team’s development.