George Russell finished the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fourth, but Fernando Alonso’s penalty promoted him to third, and the Briton is not complaining.
George Russell’s tenth Formula 1 podium wasn’t a straight forward one, but he made sure to put himself in a position to capitalize on Alonso and Aston Martin’s mishaps on Sunday under the floodlights of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The 25-year-old was easily the better Mercedes driver on the night, with teammate Lewis Hamilton trying to overtake him during the race but failing to, as he also seemed to resist any notion of team orders from his team to let his teammate on different tyres (Medium vs Hard) by.
Speaking in Mercedes‘ post race review; Russell said: “When you put the hard work in and it pays dividends, you come away feeling satisfied.
“We finished ahead of both Ferraris on merit today and we know we’ve got a lot of performance to come soon. The gap to the Red Bulls is still considerable, but we’ll take the positives from the weekend, keep fighting as hard as we can and focusing on ourselves.
“It was an interesting race,” Russell went on. “After the Safety Car I was on the hard tyre and Lewis was behind on the medium. He had a bit more pace at the beginning, but I knew my pace would come at the end.”
As for his post race promotion to third, Russell said: “Fernando deserved to be on the podium today and I was pleased with P4.
“I’m not complaining too much about taking home a trophy though, and we will take the extra points!” he concluded.
Hamilton: Setup the biggest issue I faced this weekend
Lewis Hamilton was unhappy with his W14 all weekend and qualified eighth compared to Russell’s fourth, and while his teammate benefited from Alonso’s 10-second penalty, the seven-time Formula 1 Champion was 10.2s away from the Spaniard, hence missing out an higher position.
“We got some great points as a Team today,” Hamilton said. “George getting third is amazing and I was able to move forward from seventh to fifth, which is the main thing.
“If I had qualified better then maybe I could have got a better result,” he reflected, “but we still got some points. My set-up this weekend has been the biggest issue I’ve faced. I got it wrong for Qualifying and it wasn’t good in the race either, so I struggled today.
“We were trying to go long on the hard tyre, but the Safety Car came out, so I had to pit. We just about managed to make the medium work, but it was a long second stint. We didn’t have the same tyre degradation as we did in Bahrain, though.
“We were a lot closer to some of those ahead and it’s great to be in the top five, ahead of the Ferraris. There is lots to work on but there are positives to take away from this weekend,” Hamilton concluded.