Lewis Hamilton has praised George Russell's "solid" performance during the opening three races of the new F1 season, with the pair closely matched at the Australian Grand Prix.
On what proved to be a more positive day for the Mercedes team, Hamilton followed Russell over the line at Albert Park as the pair claimed third and fourth respectively.
Hamilton says an issue with his W13 prevented him from fighting Russell for a spot on the podium, after the former Williams driver got ahead of him by pitting behind the Safety Car.
Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took the race win, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez finishing in second, but it was another strong points haul for Mercedes, despite still being yet to unlock the full potential of their car.
"This weekend we've had so many difficult moments with the car, so to get ourselves fifth and sixth in qualifying, to progress like we have and have the reliability... we definitely didn't expect to have a third and fourth," Hamilton said, speaking to Sky Sports F1.
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Hamilton: I couldn't fight for the podium
For the second race running, younger teammate Russell took the chequered flag ahead of Hamilton and has now moved up to second in the World Championship standings.
Hamilton felt he could have battled Russell for a place on the podium during the closing laps before his car began to overheat, he has explained.
"George did a great job today. He had great pace and he's been so solid during these three races" Hamilton continued.
"I got to see a bit of the battle of him racing Perez and I wish I could have been in it, but we'll take these points and we'll keep pushing.
"I couldn't fight for third because the engine was overheating, so I had to back off. I just had to sit behind.
"But, you know, as I said, we bagged as many points as we could as a team and that's great."
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