Russell: Spanish GP "a survival race" for Mercedes F1 due to overheating

Mercedes Formula 1's George Russell said the Spanish Grand Prix was “a survival race”, in which both Mercedes cars were “hurt a lot” by overheating issues.

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, 3rd position, on the podium with his trophy and Champagne

Russell benefited from the retirement of early leader Charles Leclerc to run in third place in the closing stages with team-mate Lewis Hamilton behind him when the pair both suffered a water leak, which allowed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to pass the seven-time world champion on the penultimate lap.

The issue also pushed Russell onto the defensive, but he held off the Spaniard to take the third podium spot, his second of the season after Australia, albeit 20 seconds behind Sergio Perez in second.

Like Russell, Hamilton was told to lift and coast over the radio amid growing concern over the potentially race-ending issue, and managed to finish fifth - despite dropping to the tail of the field after clashing with Kevin Magnussen's Haas and picking up a puncture on the opening tour.

Russell said of the closing stages: “Yeah, it was very difficult in the last few laps. It was a survival race when we knew we had a gap.”

He said overheating issues “hurt us a lot to be honest”, adding: “When I had the Red Bull in my mirrors, all I was doing was my maximum to keep him behind and it was an enjoyable, good couple of laps.

"Just pleased to be able to bring home P3, a lot of points on the board for us."

George Russell, Mercedes W13, makes a stop

George Russell, Mercedes W13, makes a stop

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Despite the strong result, the team still sits third in the constructors’ championship, 75 points adrift of leaders Red Bull and 49 behind second-placed Ferrari.

Both drivers felt the team had made a big step forward to solve its porpoising problems thanks to the updates brought to Barcelona.

But Russell was reluctant to say the team had returned to its usual form, adding that the race was “very tough”.

He said: “I'd love to say that but today was very tough. I gave everything I could to hold Max off, he did an amazing job. And so proud to be standing here.

“We've had to work so hard, so this is for everyone back at Brackley and Brixworth. So thank you.”

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