Russell felt he deserved P3 but win is a reward for Mercedes

George Russell believes his victory in the Austrian Grand Prix is deserved reward for Mercedes’ progress this season but admits he should have finished third.

A collision between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris when fighting for the win saw both drivers pick up punctures within the final ten laps of the race, allowing Russell to take the lead and hold off Oscar Piastri for victory. The win is only Russell’s second of his career, and he says it comes after a clear step forward from Mercedes that had so far only yielded podiums.

“It feels really great to be honest,” Russell said. “These last three races as a team, we’ve really turned it up. I feel that Montreal was probably a victory that we missed out on and we ended up finishing P3. Today was a deserving P3 and we got the victory.


“It’s funny how this sport turns around…credit to all the team for all the hard work they’ve done. Such huge progress since the start of the year.

“The last couple of years have been very difficult for us as a team and we didn’t have high expectations going into this weekend, but we ended up qualifying P3 yesterday. We’ve been in that mix, and as I said, we were fighting for the podium.

“I think, realistically, we still probably have the third-quickest car behind Red Bull and McLaren. The last three races, Lewis [Hamilton] and I have been in that P3 spot, so we’re really getting the most out of it. Sometimes, racing, it goes your way.”

After qualifying, Russell said he would let Norris and Verstappen fight and see how the race played out on Sunday, and the Mercedes driver revealed his race engineer had already informed him a chance of the win was possible given how aggressive the battle was becoming late on.

“I was just trying to focus on just maximizing my driving, to be honest,” he said. “Marcus [Dudley], my engineer, said three laps before, ‘They’re fighting really hard and we can win this.’ I said, ‘Look, we need to sort of secure P3 first; let me drive.’ I knew Oscar was fast behind.

“Then when I got into the lead, I knew it was going to be a challenging last six laps. My tires were difficult. That VSC helped marginally because my tires were overheating and that just allowed me to cool them down.

“It’s a bit of a strange one to win a race like this, for sure. But as I said, it’s racing. Sometimes it goes against you and I feel like we’ve probably missed out on one or two possibilities of victories. Montreal was won, arguably Singapore, things could have gone very slightly differently last year, and today it went for us. It’s how the cookie crumbles.”

Story originally appeared on Racer