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Mercedes 'don't deserve' P2 in Italy following qualifying - Russell

The Mercedes driver was downbeat after qualifying, despite being due to start in second place.

George Russell believes Mercedes do not deserve to be second on the Italian Grand Prix Formula 1 grid following qualifying. The Mercedes has struggled with straight-line speed all season, and the two drivers were actually fifth and sixth - Lewis Hamilton ahead of Russell. But while Hamilton goes to the back because of his engine penalties, Russell is promoted to P2 on the grid behind pole-sitter Charles Leclerc. Despite his second best starting spot of the season - pole in Hungary was his best - Russell was not pleased after the session.

"After the performance, it was again a frustrating session because we can't seem to get the car consistently in that sweet spot," he told media including RacingNews365.com. "FP1, the car felt great, in FP2 and FP3 it was substantially worse. "In Q1, it felt great, a few tenths off Ferrari, and then Q2 and Q3 was worse. "Ultimately that has been the theme of our season, and we are lining up P2 tomorrow, and we will have a fast race car, but not fast enough to battle with Max [Verstappen.]" Russell also admitted it would be "pretty stupid" to bet against a Verstappen win, even though he has a grid penalty. "I think it'd be pretty stupid to bet against it, wouldn't you?," he said. "He just needs to keep his nose clean in the first two laps, and he'll cruise to victory will be trying to finish ahead of Charles. "That'll be an exciting race but today they were ahead by 1.4 seconds."

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