Russell led both FP2 and FP3 Mercedes at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and looked set to be in contention for pole after pulling away from Verstappen by just 0.132s after the opening Q3 heats.

But Russell endured a poor final lap, battling oversteer at Turn 5 before running wide at Turn 12 at the end of the back straight. This caused him to run wide and ultimately lose time.

Verstappen found more time on the last lap take the pole by three tenths seconds from Russell, but the Brit remained spoiled with his last-ditch effort.

“The team deserved more today, they put together a really great car this weekend and I think that’s a testament to the hard work they’ve put in for so long,” said Russell.

“We saw last week how Lewis showed what the car is capable of. I feel like that was our pole and it was just a terrible lap on my part, so I’m kind of kicking myself.

“But at the end of the day, I don’t have any qualifying points and I’m very happy to be back on the front row.”

Russell will stand in front of a teammate Lewis Hamilton on Saturday, Mercedes took their best qualifying result of the 2022 season.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo: Stephen Tee / Images of motor sports

With three races left to try and end their winless campaign, the team were looking to boost their chances at the end of the season while helping to build for next year with the latest update to the W13 car in Austin.

Russell felt Mercedes “didn’t get a chance to show what it’s really capable of” during the US Grand Prix, but felt the high-altitude conditions allowed it to show more of its potential.

“At such a high altitude, the drag doesn’t matter, and here, let’s say, we’re ahead of Red Bull,” Russell said.

“They always take three tenths from us at once. It’s less of a factor here, so maybe that’s why we’re a little bit more competitive.”

When asked how far Mercedes have a long way to go before the start of the race, Russell felt the team “looks competitive” and has a “reasonable opportunity” in the fight ahead.

“Having Lewis up front gives us the opportunity to do something different with the strategy,” he said. “Let’s see what we can do.”

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