‘We need to be careful with gender!’: Toto Wolff at 2023 Australian GP

George Russell has maintained his 100-percent record of out-qualifying Lewis Hamilton in 2023 in Melbourne.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was incredibly pleased to see the W14 finally performing well, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton having qualified second and third for Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

Whilst the Germans were helped by Sergio Perez retiring from qualifying in Q1, Russell and Hamilton both showed strong pace at the Albert Park Circuit, suggesting that Sunday could be a very good day for the Silver Arrows.

One-tenth separated Russell and Hamilton following their final laps in Q3, with the 25-year-old having gotten the better of the seven-time World Champion for the third consecutive qualifying this season.

As it stands, Russell has out-qualified Hamilton at every Grand Prix this season; however, there was nothing the former Williams driver could do about reigning World Champion Max Verstappen.

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Verstappen claimed pole after going just over two-tenths faster than Russell, with the Dutchman looking set to be the clear favourite on Sunday.

Battling Verstappen isn’t Mercedes’ fight currently, though, with Wolff admitting that the Red Bull driver is in “a league of his own”.

The best outcome for Mercedes will likely be a double-podium, something nobody could’ve predicted ahead of this weekend.

Wolff was visibly very happy after qualifying, with the Austrian admitting that Mercedes “needed a bit of happiness”.

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“She was nice today!” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

“We need to be careful with gender! We got it together this weekend, right mechanical setup, I’m happy.

“Good starting second and third. It’s been a while since no one in front of our line in P2, Verstappen is a league of his own but we can slot in. We needed a bit of happiness and for the Saturday at least we got that.”

Russell has certainly maintained his status as ‘Mr Saturday’ this season after another great performance, with the target now being to convert his front row start into a podium.

He joked that he was “disappointed” not to get pole but that the team certainly have “potential” on Sunday.

“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,” said an incredibly happy Russell.

“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.”

Despite being out-qualified by his team-mate again, Hamilton was also incredibly happy with his qualifying session, with the 38-year-old being in a great position to challenge for a podium.

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

“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!”