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George Russell

Russell sends dig in Red Bull's direction after Verstappen DNF

George Russell has praised his Mercedes team after he picked up an unexpected podium result in the Australian Grand Prix.

Russell Australia Perez
To news overview © XPB

George Russell has reiterated the importance of reliability after he was able to clinch a podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix, partly in thanks to Max Verstappen's sudden retirement from the race.

Verstappen had been running in second place behind leader Charles Leclerc when his Red Bull suffered a mechanical issue on Lap 39 of 58. As a result, the Dutchman was forced to pull to the side of the track, marking his second such DNF of the season.

This promoted Sergio Perez into P2, and also moved Russell up to third place.

Seemingly referencing Red Bull's reliability woes, Russell praised his Mercedes team after the race for ensuring that he was there to benefit from others' misfortunes.

"I think it's a credit to everybody back at Brackley and Brixworth, because it doesn't matter how fast the car is, if you don't make it to the end, then you're not there to pick up the pieces," the Briton told Sky Sports F1.

"And we've certainly had that."

Russell shocked at being P2 in Drivers' standings

With Mercedes having had a challenging start to the 2022 campaign, Russell is proud of the fact that they were able to get ahead of some of their competitors at Albert Park.

His podium finish has also put him up to second in the World Championship standings, something that has come as quite a surprise.

"This weekend, we were probably the fifth fastest team behind McLaren, behind Alpine," Russell explained.

"Yet here we are, [with a] P3. And I only just realised, someone told me I'm P2 in the Championship, which is just crazy to think.

"We've got to be really proud of the job we've done so far, with the lack of performance we have. We believe we can get there, but it's not going to happen overnight, and it's going to be a number of races before we start closing the gap."

Credit to Mercedes for helping with tyre management

Russell has also praised the Mercedes engineers for ensuring that he managed his tyres.

The driver feels that, if he had not done this, he may have lost a position to teammate Lewis Hamilton, who finished behind him in P4.

"I don't want to manage tyres! I'm a racing driver, and I want to fight for my position," Russell commented.

"And the place I needed to manage the tyres [was] around the last corner, which obviously leads on to the straight, so if I managed the tyre [there], I was just a sitting duck, and that's not what I wanted to do.

"But I'm the driver, [the team are] the experts on that front, and they know. They've got the data in front of them.

"I [could] see on my steering wheel, my tyre temperatures were really on the limit, and if I pushed harder, I probably would have ended up finishing behind Lewis as well.

"So I put up a bit of a fight [against Perez], but they're just too quick for us."

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