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"Ain't no stopping us now!" warns Russell

NEWS STORY
23/05/2022

As Mercedes appears to have tamed the porpoise, George Russell warns that the fight is on as the German team's season is finally underway.

Unlike Miami, in Barcelona Mercedes didn't take one step forward only to take two backwards. From the start of the weekend it was clear that the world champions are (almost) on top of the porpoising issue that has plagued it since pre-season testing and but for a first lap clash with Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton might have been at the sharp end of the field with his teammate for the entire race.

As it happened, Hamilton finished fifth, while teammate Russell joined the Red Bull pair on the podium, as Mercedes delivered its most convincing performance of the season.

And on the subject of convincing performances, in fending off the Bulls and putting Max Verstappen firmly in his place, in case anyone hadn't noticed, Russell served notice of his arrival at the sport's top table.

"I gave everything I could to hold Max off, but he did an amazing job," said the youngster at race end. "Well done to Max, he did a great job.

"When I had the Red Bulls in my mirrors, all I was doing was my maximum to keep them behind," he continued. "When I was battling Max, I was managing tyres, the engine was overheating, I was trying to go as fast as possible to keep him behind... you're juggling so many things, but it was an enjoyable good couple of laps.

A cooling issue in the final stages of the race meant that Russell and his teammate both had to back-off, in Hamilton's case meaning forfeiting fourth place to Carlos Sainz.

"It was very difficult in the last few laps, it was a survival race," Russell admitted. “Last five-six laps was literally 'bring it home'. We were right on the limit throughout the race but the team did a great job not to go over the limit and have to retire the car.

"I'm just pleased to be able to bring it home in P3. It's a lot of points on the board for us."

While he had already scored a podium finish in Australia, Russell believes that - despite Charles Leclerc's DNF - Barcelona means more because now the Mercedes is becoming a genuine force to be reckoned with.

"I'd love to say that but today was very tough," he said. "We've probably halved the gap to the front-runners compared to the rest of the season but we know there's more performance to find.

"We've finally solved our issue and we can now focus on bringing more performance," he added. "We're six races behind but there's no reason why we can't claw this back. We're making progress and as a team we've turned the page, it feels like this is probably the start of our season now.

"I'm just so proud to be standing here, because the guys have worked so hard, so this one is for the guys back at Brackley and Brixworth."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 26/05/2022 14:16

"Russell is a very good young driver & has had deserved success & not a little luck. He is very fast & has a cooler head than many of his youthful cohort. That characteristic alone should be a benefit when wheel to wheel with overexcitable Verstappen.

I think he's being a tad previous if he thinks that the Mercedes is on par with RBR or Ferrari. Indeed, it smacks of tempting fate. George's ability to prevent a DRS-less Verstappen from overtaking showed that he & the Merc can be fast and his racecraft in being just far enough ahead at the right parts of the track was spot-on.

Finally I hate to spoil the Hamilton "hate in" but he was actually considerably faster than Russell in the race, that's why he nearly got 4th place, despite Magnusson's stupid Verstappen-esque move putting him last on lap 1"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 25/05/2022 0:19

"@ MVR....good post. The assertion that one driver is unquestionably the GOAT is being severely tested and proved to be incorrect. The days where one driver just takes his 'vastly' superior car to a substantial early lead and then controls the race without any serious competition has been all but eliminated ,to date, and what a difference it has made. Whether or not this new reality can be maintained for the entire season is an unknown ATPIT but let's hope so. The change is refreshing."

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3. Posted by MVR, 24/05/2022 16:17

"So in equal cars - Russell is doing better than Hamilton.

Last couple of years Mercedes had the best car by far.

So all we know for sure about Hamilton is that he's a good driver, but we can only say he's better than Bottas. No way to know if he's better than any of the other drivers.

All the talk about great drivers is nonsense. All the talk should be about the cars. As they are a far, far more important of the story. It used to be about the drivers in the past - driving rubbish cars and hauling them to the front. Doesn't happen anymore"

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4. Posted by Tardis40, 23/05/2022 23:30

"Russell is writing hamilton's epitaph"

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5. Posted by equator180, 23/05/2022 20:07

"The car has improved and Russel is driving very well in addition he has a good wing man to help him climb the ladder."

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6. Posted by Burton, 23/05/2022 18:38

"For professional reasons I quite have to dislike Team Ineos but I'd love to see George do a Keke/Kenseth and somehow win the title."

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7. Posted by Chester, 23/05/2022 17:54

"Good for competition- competition we haven't had from 2014 to 2020. But indeed it is only one race- and in high heat. "

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8. Posted by Superbird70, 23/05/2022 14:29

"Only 30 and 54 seconds behind. Not exactly nipping at Red Bull's heels."

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9. Posted by Wokingchap, 23/05/2022 13:59

"Very well done Mercedes, good to see George and Lewis back near the front. Perhaps Mr.Alonzo will have to swallow his 'welcome to the midfield' distasteful comment at Lewis."

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