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Russell: Mercedes must "go for it" trying to beat Verstappen in Australia

The Mercedes driver took an unexpected P2 in qualifying, finishing second to Max Verstappen, and thinks this is their best shot at taking an early victory in the season.

George Russell thinks Mercedes have to "go for it" as they look to beat Max Verstappen and claim an early season victory at the Australian Grand Prix. Mercedes have struggled to improve on their race-winning form at the end of the 2022 season so far, but the they have managed to find more performance in the troubled W14 at Melbourne and capitalise on the problems faced by Sergio Perez. Red Bull has not won a race in Melbourne since 2011 and with Russell starting an unexpected P2 alongside Verstappen, the Briton has set his sights on challenging them for the win. "We've gotta go for it, haven't we? We gotta go for a win," he said. "Max is going to be extremely fast, there's no hiding that. I think it's difficult to overtake around the circuit. So the start, lap one is going to be vital." "The Red Bull has extraordinary top speed. So it's gonna be very difficult to fight with Max. But let's see how we get on, we've got to do our own race. But if the opportunity is there, we will go for it."

Russell: W14 setup has evolved since Bahrain and Jeddah

Russell believes the team has grasped more of an understanding of their car between the first two races and Melbourne, saying the pace was "quite surprising" on his final lap. "I think we're learning more and more about this car, we know it's not where we want it to be," he explained. "But it's probably evolved just with the setup since Bahrain to Jeddah to here. We've seen that performance improvement with the exact same car. "For sure tyres played a big part this weekend - as Max alluded to - and the pace on that final lap was quite surprising. "Really pleased to just be two and a half tenths off when we were a second off on other occasions."

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