Mercedes have made progress at the Australian Grand Prix this weekend and shouldn’t do anything too ‘drastic’ to try and catch up to frontrunners Ferrari and Red Bull, said pleased drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton after finishing third and fourth in Melbourne on Sunday morning.
Russell was able to earn only the second podium of his Formula 1 career after an impressive outing at the Albert Park circuit, aided by a retirement for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the second half of the race following a mechanical failure.
Hamilton, meanwhile, would likely have taken the podium himelf if a well-timed safety car hadn’t gifted Russell a cheap pit stop which allowed him to leapfrog his team-mate.
The team’s W13 car has been way off the pace its Ferrari and Red Bull rivals so far this season but the team has still managed to score two podium finishes, and Red Bull’s unreliability means Mercedes are currently second in the constructors’ championship.
The Mercedes car has been suffering from intense bouncing at high speeds on the straights so far in 2022, and is simply slower than the fastets machinery through the corners, but both Hamilton and Russell feel progress has been made Down Under.
“A great result for us as a team,” seven-time world champion Hamilton told Sky Sports F1. “During this weekend we’ve had so many difficult moments with the car so to progress like we have and have a third and fourth [is good]. We’ll take these points and keep pushing. I couldn’t fight for third because the engine as overheating so I had to sit behind and back off. But we bagged as many points as we could as a team so that’s great.”
Team-mate George Russell, meanwhile, was quick to praise the team’s personnel.
“It’s a credit to everybody at Brackley and Brixworth because it doesn’t matter how fast your car is if you’re not there at the end,” he said. “We were probably fifth fastest car this weekend but here we are on the podium. We have to be proud of the job we’ve done so far with performance we have. Lewis kept me on my toes for sure. he doesn’t give up and was pushing until the end so I had to keep going to keep him behind. But [Red Bull] they were just too quick for us.”
Russell believes that the team should be pleased with the result in Australia, and says that they shouldn’t try anything too drastic to catch up to Ferrari leaders, as they risk compromising the good work they have already done.
“Someone told me that [I’m second in the championship] and I didn’t believe them! If we want to keep that position we have to find more performance in the car. We have to be proud about this result because we’re P2 in both championships. We were slower than McLaren and Alpine but we’ve come away with P3 and P4, which is pretty mega.
“We have to go about the [improvement] process analytically, we can’t do anything crazy. If we do something drastic we’ll go backwards not forwards. It’s going to take time but there’s so much potential in the car. We’re a bit on the heavy side and lacking downforce. There’s always more to come and improve, but it’s been a respectable start and I’ll keep on improving [as a driver].”
The fourth round of the Formula 1 season takes place at the Imola circuit in Italy in a fortnight’s time.