Lewis Hamilton helped Oscar Piastri knock out George Russell

George Russell will start Sunday's race from P11, whilst Lewis Hamilton salvaged fifth.

Mercedes suffered an incredibly mixed qualifying on Friday at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton accidently cost team-mate George Russell a spot in Q3.

Q1 and Q2 were extremely disappointing for the Silver Arrows, with both Hamilton and Russell having looked off the pace.

As a result, they were both at risk of being eliminated in Q2, with Russell having sat on the bubble in P10 as the chequered flag was flown.

Hamilton sat just 0.004s ahead of his 25-year-old team-mate, highlighting Mercedes’ struggles compared to Red Bull and Ferrari.

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Russell’s time was ultimately not strong enough, as McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri received an almighty slipstream from Hamilton down the 2.2km main straight, which saw the Australian leapfrog both Mercedes drivers in Q2, demoting Hamilton to 10th and Russell to 11th.

Hamilton was on his way into the pits as Piastri closed up behind him, which dramatically increased the young driver’s straight-line speed, enough to see him go 0.018s faster than Russell.

“Ah, sugar” was Russell’s response on the team radio as he was told that he was out in Q2, with the Briton now set to have an extremely long day on Sunday, given Mercedes’ disappointing straight-line speed.

In Q3, Hamilton somehow managed to extract significantly more pace out of the W14, with the seven-time World Champion having done brilliantly to claim fifth on the grid for Sunday’s race.

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His Q3 lap was half a second quicker than his best time in Q2; however, the 38-year-old still found himself 0.974s behind Charles Leclerc, who claimed a third consecutive pole in Azerbaijan.

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For Russell, starting P11 is certainly drastically different to having been on the front row in Australia; however, the Mercedes driver openly admitted after his elimination that the car isn’t “fast enough”.

“Well, we’re not fast enough this weekend, obviously I would’ve loved to have been in Q3 but I was giving it everything,” Russell said in the media pen after qualifying, as reported by Sky Sports F1.

“The lap was strong, I made a mistake in my last one which maybe would’ve just crept me in to Q3 but I don’t think we would’ve been able to qualify much higher than P8.”