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Mercedes admit they were able to 'have fun again' at Paul Ricard

Mercedes scored their best result of the season at the French Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton finishing second and George Russell taking third.

Andrew Shovlin hailed a "really satisfying" performance from Mercedes at the French Grand Prix that saw the team "having a bit of fun again". After finishing a second off the pole position time in qualifying, Mercedes displayed much stronger race pace at Paul Ricard to challenge for the podium on merit. And, with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc crashing out, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were able to follow the Red Bull of Max Verstappen home in second and third. Russell also revelled in getting the better of Perez in the closing stages of the race, as the Mercedes and Red Bull went head-to-head for several laps. Shovlin, Mercedes' Trackside Engineering Director, admits there is still "a long road ahead" for the outfit, but has taken plenty of encouragement from the result.

Shovlin "really satisfied" with French GP showing

Reflecting on the outcome, Shovlin said: "That was our best race of the year and really pleasing to see both drivers racing at the front. "We know that we've got a long road ahead of us, but compared to where we were a couple of months ago in Monaco and Baku, it's really satisfying to see the team and drivers having a bit of fun again." Of the one-lap deficit to Red Bull and Ferrari, Shovlin added: "The weekend hasn't been easy; our qualifying positions weren't far off expectation, but the gaps to Charles and Max were eye-opening. "We'd hoped that the car would be kind on the tyres [in the race]. The conditions were very tough given the circuit and the temperature, but degradation was good. "Whilst we are lacking a bit of pace, we at least seemed a bit stronger towards the end of the stints."

Mercedes aim to head into summer break "on a high note"

Mercedes have moved to within 50 points of second-placed Ferrari following their 2-3 finish and Leclerc's costly crash from the lead. Shovlin hopes the Silver Arrows will be able to continue their momentum as the F1 field moves on to Hungary this weekend. "We've only got a couple of days to try and regroup and prepare for Budapest," he commented. "Hard work has got us to a level where we can fight for a place on the podium, but we want to be fighting for the top step. "We've got one race to go before the summer break so we will be pushing hard to try and finish the first half of the season on a high note."

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