George Russell unhappy with Mercedes praise

George Russell's podium at the Spanish GP was his first since his victory at last season's Brazilian GP.

George Russell was clearly enjoying himself during the Spanish Grand Prix, with the Briton having questioned Mercedes over how good his overtake on Carlos Sainz was.

The 25-year-old started Sunday’s seventh race of the 2023 Formula 1 season from 12th, following a miserable qualifying session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday.

Russell’s pre-race build-up was also pretty shocking, as the Mercedes driver took a trip through the gravel at Turn 5 on his reconnaissance lap.

He quickly put this blunder behind him though, by having an exceptional start to the race.

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Russell overtook Sergio Perez on the run down to Turn 1 and went three-wide into Turn 2; however, he was left with no room and skipped the corner, before rejoining the circuit whilst following the FIA’s guidelines for the weekend.

Russell was investigated for skipping the corner but ultimately had no action taken against him, presumably to his and Mercedes’ delight.

The 25-year-old got his head down and showed exceptional pace, enough to see him overtake both Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll relatively easily.

It was his overtake for third on Carlos Sainz though, which really impressed the former Williams driver.

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Russell dived down the inside of the home hero for third on Lap 35/66, with his race engineer having quickly congratulated him on the excellent move.

“Solid work,” said Russell’s engineer.

“Just solid?” Russell cheekily asked, to which team principal Toto Wolff jumped on the radio.

“It was pretty good,” added Wolff.

Russell comfortably held on for third to claim his first podium of the season, with it having somewhat made up for his error at the Monaco Grand Prix, where he threw a rostrum away.

The Briton was delighted after the race and thanked the team for the “great car”, which seemingly worked incredibly well.

“A little bit surprised for sure,” said Russell after the race.

“Kudos to the team for giving me a great car. That was a fun race for us, starting in P12 coming all the way to P3 – a sign of things to come hopefully for us and the team.”

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Mercedes’ new concept is clearly working better than the ‘zero-sidepod’ concept which saw the team struggle so much in the opening rounds, with Russell admitting that the car “definitely feels better” since the upgrades.

“It definitely feels better, but when you compare with the guys around we were just quicker and quicker,” added Russell.

“We know we have put more downforce in the car, we know things are in a better window, so very pleased to be on the podium.”