Russell ready to fight: ‘We’ve got to go for the win!’

George Russell says Mercedes should go all-in at the start of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and take the challenge to poleman Max Verstappen after the team’s upbeat performance in qualifying.

Thanks to a well-executed Saturday afternoon session in Melbourne, Russell will line up alongside Verstappen on Sunday’s grid with his teammate Lewis Hamilton just behind in third position.

Russell ended up just 0.236s adrift from Verstappen in the Q3 shootout, the smallest margin so far this season between Red Bull and Mercedes, and a gap that should encourage the Brackley squad to pull out the stop from the outset.


“We’ve got to go for it, haven’t we?” Russell said in Saturday’s post-qualifying press conference in Melbourne. “We’ve got to go for the win.

“Max is going to be extremely fast, there’s no hiding that. I think it’s difficult to overtake around this circuit, so the start, lap one, is going to be vital.

“But the Red Bull has extraordinary top speed, so it’s going to be very difficult to fight with Max.

“But, let’s see how we get on. We’ve got to do our race. But if the opportunity is there, we’ll go for it.”

    Read also: Russell ‘disappointed’ to miss out on Melbourne pole

Due to Friday’s disrupted sessions, Mercedes was unable to really gauge its race pace, so it’s unclear if Russell and Hamilton will be able to hook on to and battle Verstappen’s dominant RB19 early on.

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But with Sergio Perez starting last as the result of his dismal qualifying session, Russell says Mercedes will at least have the advantage of the numbers at the start.

“I haven’t even done a long run,” he said. “So, tomorrow, going into the race will be the first time I do so. And I’ve not seen where we tally up compared to them.

“But we have to expect they’re going to be 0.25s-0.5s, at least quicker than us. But, maybe in the tow we can just about hold on.

“Maybe the fact there’s two of us and only one Red Bull, maybe with strategy we can apply some pressure to them. So, we’ll see.”

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