George Russell: Mercedes can challenge for Spanish GP victory

BARCELONA, Spain – George Russell believes Mercedes can challenge Lando Norris and Max Verstappen for victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Russell finished just behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton, with both Mercedes drivers starting on the second row.

The Mercedes pair finished just over 0.3 seconds behind Norris’ lead.

Asked if he was frustrated despite the good result and finishing narrowly behind Hamilton, Russell replied: “Two milliseconds is the biggest gap I’ve had in the four last races compared to the driver around me, so it’s crazy to think that.”

“I take the positives, as a team we are in the mix, Lando had a really good lap, I don’t think Lewis and I really managed to put everything together perfectly, I had the felt like maybe two tenths ahead in the standings, not the gap we saw with pole, but nonetheless we are P3, P4 and in a great position to fight for a win tomorrow. “

The result will be a huge boost for Mercedes and further proof that their latest upgrade is a major step forward.

A new package in Canada helped Russell secure pole position – and he very well could have won with a mistake-free race – but Spain was seen as where the true success of the upgrade would be tested.

Like Russell, Hamilton was in an upbeat mood Saturday afternoon.

“It’s good to be back here. I miss being on this couch,” he said at the post-qualifying press conference for the top three.

Although both drivers admitted they could have been closer to the front with cleaner qualifying laps, Mercedes will take enormous comfort from being ahead of both Ferraris.

“Generally speaking, it’s great to see that we’re making progress,” Hamilton added.

“Really, you’ve seen over the last couple of races that we’re slowly closing in on the guys in front. I think there was a little bit more performance in the car today, but it was really on the knife’s edge and so we”I have some improvements to make to the car.

“But like I said, I’m really happy to be here. P3 is a really good place to start with that long descent to the first corner.”

Russell echoed Hamilton’s sentiments on what the qualifying result says about Mercedes’ latest improvements.

“Well, you never know 100%, but this is definitely the most confident we’ve had in the last three years about what we’ve brought to the car, and that’s natural too.

“We’re all gaining experience and we’re all three years into these regulations, and we all know what makes a good race car in this kind of era.

“It has been proven how tight the situation is with the top four teams at the moment. In the coming races there will probably be marginal differences that will make a big difference in terms of grid position, but it is what F1 should be.”

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