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

23/05/2022
NEWS STORY

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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Published: 23/05/2022
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