Russell ‘disappointed’ to miss out on Melbourne pole

George Russell admitted to being ” a little bit disappointed” to miss out on pole in Melbourne as the Mercedes charger realized what a difference a day makes for the Brackley squad.

Russell and teammate Lewis Hamilton ended the Saturday afternoon shootout second and third in the pecking order, a result that far exceeded the troubled team’s expectations.

Hamilton looked set to lead the black arrow duo behind the unassailable Red Bull of Max Verstappen, but a final all-out effort by Russell in Q3 put the latter 0.136s clear of the seven-time world champion.

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“We weren’t expecting that, that’s for sure,” enthused a delighted Russell after qualifying.

“A lot of hard work going on back at a factory, here in Melbourne, and wow, what a session for us!

“The car felt alive, the lap of the end was right on the limit and I’m going to be honest, I was little bit disappointed that we didn’t get pole position.

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“It’s one of those things how your expectations change so quickly in this sport, we probably would have been happy with the top-four, top-five yesterday.

“But the car felt awesome and it goes to show we’ve definitely got potential still to come.”

For all his joy in seeing Mercedes outperform its own expectations, Russell was unable to explain where the step forward had come from.

“We’ve got to understand obviously when you have good days and bad days, but we’ll take it.”

Hamilton was equally thrilled with Mercedes’ “totally unexpected” performance.

“This is totally unexpected. [I’m] really, really proud of the team,” he said.

“George did a fantastic job there today. So, for us to be up on the two front rows is honestly a dream for us.

“We’re all working as hard as we can to get right back up the front and so, to be this close to the Red Bull is honestly, it’s incredible.”

Hamilton, whose second lap in Q3 wasn’t as good as his first effort, hoped that Mercedes can hold its own on Sunday and perhaps snap at the wheel of Verstappen’s RB19.

“I hope tomorrow we can give them a bit of a run for their money, and we hope the weather is good,” he added.

“The second lap wasn’t as good as obviously the first one. I did get a little bit further ahead in the last sector but, ultimately, I lost out a little bit at the beginning, but I’m not disappointed.”

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