George Russell secured his first podium for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team on his 63rd race in F1.
Both Mercedes drivers made an impressive start with Lewis Hamilton making up two places and Russell passing Lando Norris to go P5.
George benefitted from a Safety Car on lap 24 to make his first stop and move up to P3, with Lewis in P5 having stopped the lap before to cover PER.
Managing his tyres later in the race, George put up a light defence to allow PER to move ahead, leaving the Silver Arrows running P4 and P5 before a reliability issue for VER moved both drivers up a place, sealing the team’s second podium of the season.
Lewis managed a heating engine late on to ensure the team maximised its points opportunity this weekend.
‘You’ve got to be in it to win it and capitalise from other’s misfortune, and the guys at Brackley and Brixworth have been working so hard on giving us a reliable car. We got a little bit lucky today, probably twice, but we take it. There’s so much hard work going on back at base to try and get us back at the front so to be standing on the podium today is special a reward for all their hard work. We’re never going to give up, we’ve got to keep on fighting. This weekend we were a long way behind our rivals but here we are standing on the podium. We’ve got to keep this up while we are on the back foot, maximise our points opportunities and I am sure we will get there after a few more races.’
‘It’s a great result for us as a team, honestly. This weekend we have had so many difficult moments with the car and to get fifth and sixth in qualifying, to have progressed like we have, with the reliability we have, is amazing. We definitely didn’t expect to be third and fourth today. George did a great job – I got to see a bit of the battle of him racing Perez and I wish could have been in it but nonetheless, we’ll take these points and keep pushing. I couldn’t fight for third because the engine was overheating so I had to back off and sit behind, but we bagged as many points we could as a team and that’s great.’
‘We are leaving Melbourne in a better state than when we arrived- more lessons learned, more data to analyse and more points on the board. Clearly we haven’t got the pace yet to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull but we know where we need to seek performance. One factor that leaves me very optimistic for the future is the mindset and strength of the team. Everyone in the UK, in Stuttgart and in the travelling race team is pulling together every ounce of effort we have to tackle the performance gaps with determination and a deep hunger. Seeing Lewis and George perform at an exceptionally high level today with a tool that is clearly not on the pace of the leaders is another example of the spirit of this team. We are optimistic yet realistic on the timeline for improvement and the advantage our competitors have, but P3 and P4 helps us leave Australia with a good feeling. Both drivers deserved the podium today, Lewis was unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car but the partnership between the two and how they work with one another epitomises the overall spirit of the team.’
‘Well done to George on his first Mercedes podium, he’s working hard to help us improve the car and whilst we’ve not got the pace right now that he would hope for, the podium is some reward for his efforts. Lewis lost out with the timing of the Safety Car, he’d managed to put Sergio under pressure in that first stint and we exited from the stop ahead of him. But ultimately, we don’t have the underlying car pace to race them, even if our degradation was probably a little better. At this stage of the championship, we’re focused on just two things, damage limitation and learning. In both regards this has been a successful weekend but we know we have a lot to do, Charles was in another world today so it’s likely a long road ahead but we’re not short of opportunities to find lap time around the car.’