George Russell believes that his performance at the Spanish Grand Prix showed that Mercedes has halved the gap with Red Bull and Ferrari.
Starting fourth, Russell climbed to third place on the first lap and even led for several laps after the departure of Charles Leclerc, brilliantly defending against two Red Bull riders over a number of laps. Eventually he had to nurse his car home in third place, which he considered more authentic than his podium in Australia, and says signs that a big step towards the top two has been made.
“It’s great to be on the podium, and I think it shows the hard work and effort that has been put into the plant, both in Brackley and in Brixworth,” Russell said. “We’ve always said you have to be there at the end to collect pieces and score points, and especially on days like today, it was incredibly difficult for cars, for drivers. But I feel like we’re making progress and I think we as a team have turned the page. I feel like this is probably the beginning of our season.
“I think we’ve probably halved the gap with these leaders compared to the rest of the season, and I think we know we can probably find more performance. It was a problem-solving season as opposed to trying to find more performance and improve the car’s performance.
“I think we’ve finally solved our problem and now we can focus on improving productivity. Yes, we are six races behind, but there is no reason why we cannot bring it back. “
At one point, Russell bypassed Max Ferstappen on turn 1 to maintain his position, and the pair ran inches apart through the first three corners, which, according to the Mercedes driver, was a satisfying fight.
“It was nice. I think Max and I first fought each other back in 2011. So it was nice to be able to fight it. And, you know, I’m here to win, I’m here to fight, and I obviously wasn’t going to do it easily.
“I felt sorry for him because he obviously had problems with DRS and he was clearly a faster person today. But still, I think it was a tough, honest race. And that’s what we’d like to see and expect in Formula One. “