George Russell has expressed positivity over Mercedes' pace at the Lusail International Circuit following qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix.
Russell ended the session in third place, having been out-paced by pole-sitter Max Verstappen and McLaren's Lando Norris.
However, Norris' time was deleted after he exceeded track limits which drops him down to 10th for the start of the race.
Russell inherited the front row and admits he was surprised by the level of pace he was able to show in the car during the session.
"It was a really tricky day for everybody," he said.
"It was new tarmac, it was really slippery, super windy here, all the sand blowing onto the track.
"We went out in qualifying and the lap time was just immense compared to what we were doing this morning [in FP1].
"So that was good fun. I'm really happy to be P3 - I think this is a bit better than we expected.”
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'Mercedes' fight is with Ferrari'
Mercedes is currently fighting for second in the Constructors' Championship against Ferrari, who endured a disappointing day.
Although McLaren outpaced Mercedes before penalties were applied, Russell stated that his squad is focused on its fight with Ferrari.
"Lando and the McLarens are really quick. Obviously, Red Bull and Max are in a league of their own,” he added.
"Our fight at the moment is with Ferrari to secure P2 in the Constructors Championship. We need to be consistent and go from there."