George Russell thoroughly enjoyed his battle with Max Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix as he secured his second podium of the season in third.
Starting the race in fourth, Russell got ahead of Carlos Sainz going into Turn One, and ended up ahead of Verstappen when the Dutchman made a mistake and went off at Turn Four.
Verstappen was allowed to get back ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez, but he was unable to attack Russell as his DRS failed for the second time this weekend, and the Briton did a splendid job of fending off when the 24-year-old eventually came at him.
Perez was able to pass the Mercedes for the lead after Charles Leclerc retired from the lead due to a reliability failure, and Verstappen jumped Russell in the pits to put him behind both Red Bull cars.
Generally, Mercedes’ pace looked much improved this weekend after a difficult start to the season, but Russell is cautious before saying that his team is back on form.
“I’d love to say that but today was very tough,” he told Pedro de la Rosa after the race.
“I gave everything I could and to hold Max off, he did an amazing job and I’m just so proud to be standing here.
“The guys have worked so, so hard so this is for everyone back in Brackley and Brixworth – thank you.”
While the Briton was battling Verstappen and Perez, he was also having to deal with overheating issues that impacted on team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton late on, so it all conspired to make for a tricky afternoon.
“It hurt us a lot to be honest,” explained Russell.
“I gave all l had, the Red Bull was in my mirrors so all I was doing was my maximum to keep them behind.
“It was an enjoyable, good couple of laps and [I’m] just please to bring it home, P3, a lot of points on the board for us so yeah, well done to Max, he did a great job.”
“It was very difficult in the last few laps.
“It was a survival race when we knew we had the gap.
“As I said, just proud to bring it home in P3 and thanks to all the fans here, they’ve been amazing all weekend.
“The support for Formula 1 at the moment is at an incredible place so it’s great to be here at the moment.”
Russell’s podium is his second of the season, and he is now nine points clear of Sainz in the battle for fourth in the Drivers’ Standings.