Russell tight-lipped on Mercedes Imola upgrades

George Russell took his first Mercedes podium at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix after a couple of slices of fortune.

George Russell was in a determined mood after scoring his first podium in Mercedes colours at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix.

Having started behind team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton, both the Britons managed to get past the McLaren of Lando Norris, before the 37-year-old also captured third from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

The Mexican and the seven-time champion battled away for third spot, but a Safety Car caused by a crash for Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel gave Russell a cheap stop after the aforementioned pair had already pitted, allowing him to get in front.

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It looked as though, for the first time in 19 races, Mercedes would be off the podium in two consecutive races when Perez got back ahead of him, but another reliability failure for Max Verstappen one again gave the 24-year-old third.

He acknowledges that his first-ever Mercedes podium was slightly fortuitous, but he affirms that he was there to make the most of it.

“We’ve got to be in it to win it and capitalise from others’ misfortune and obviously we got a little bit lucky today probably twice, but we’ll take it,” he said after the race.

“There’s so much hard work going on back at base – Brackley and Brixworth – to try and get us back to the front so to be standing on the podium is special.”

Mercedes have been caused an abundance of issues by the new technical regulations introduced this season, but Russell maintains that his team are working as hard as ever to recover the lost ground to Ferrari and Red Bull.

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“We’re never going to give up,” he affirmed.

“We’ve got to keep on fighting and this weekend we were a long way behind our rivals but here we are standing on the podium so we’ve got to keep this up while we’re on the back foot and I’m sure we’ll get there after a few more races.”

He was tight-lipped on the effectiveness of any new upgrades as Formula 1 heads to Europe for the first time this year in Imola.

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“I think it’s going to take some time before we can fight these boys in red and blue, they look pretty exceptional at the moment but if anyone can, Mercedes can so let’s go for it,” he stated.

Mercedes extended their advantage over Red Bull in second in the Constructors’ Standings, also out-scoring Ferrari as Charles Leclerc won following Carlos Sainz’s early crash.