Lewis Hamilton denies George Russell disappointment

George Russell claimed Mercedes' first front row start of the 2023 F1 season in Melbourne.

George Russell is certainly proving that he is still very much ‘Mr Saturday’, with the 25-year-old having out-qualified team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the third consecutive Grand Prix weekend this season.

Russell maintained his 100-percent record of out-qualifying Hamilton in 2023 with a great display at the Australian Grand Prix, with the former Williams driver having claimed a sensational front row start.

Whilst Russell didn’t have the pace to snatch pole from reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, the Briton did have enough to claim second, with Hamilton starting right behind in third.

The Albert Park Circuit is certainly a great venue for Russell given that he achieved his first podium for the Silver Arrows in Melbourne 12 months ago, with the hope now being amongst the Mercedes camp that he can replicate it on Sunday.

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Just over a tenth separated Russell and Hamilton, whilst the young Mercedes star was over two-tenths behind Verstappen.

The front row start certainly came as a shock to Russell, who joked that he was “disappointed” to miss out on pole position.

“We weren’t expecting that… I was disappointed that we didn’t get pole, expectations change so quickly in this sport. Car feels awesome, we’ve definitely got potential,” Russell said.

“It must be the jet lag programme we’re doing. We’ll take it, excited for tomorrow, tough against Max, very excited to be lining up P2.”

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Whilst he is starting behind his team-mate once again, Hamilton was incredibly pleased with qualifying.

It was arguably the seven-time World Champion’s best Saturday of the season and puts him in with a great chance of claiming his first podium of 2023; however, he’ll need to fend off former rival Fernando Alonso and both Ferrari drivers.

Given that Mercedes tend to be stronger when it comes to race pace rather than one-lap pace, Sunday could be a very exciting day for the Brackley-based team, with Hamilton having admitted after claiming third that it’s “a dream” to be so close to Red Bull.

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“I’m so happy with this,” Hamilton revealed.

“To be on the top-2 rows is a dream for us, to be this close to Red Bull is a dream!

“I’m not disappointed, super grateful for this position and will try to improve!