Russell “really happy” to finish on the podium in F1 Abu Dhabi GP after “challenging season”

Spread the love

Following a strong drive to P3 in Abu Dhabi, George Russell admitted that he made a few mistakes this season which caused Mercedes valuable points to its rivals. Yet, he said he was very happy to help the team secure P2 in the Constructors’ Championship over Ferrari.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

“That will mean a huge amount to so many people back at the factory and Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to achieve after a really challenging season. I’ve let the side down a couple of times this year, so pleased to bring it across the line,” said Russell.

The Mercedes driver started the race in fourth place. Whilst he was passed in the early few laps by Lando Norris, he recovered fast, eventually passing the other McLaren after a close battle with Oscar Piastri for multiple laps, eventually forcing the Aussie into a mistake at turn 6.

He then passed Norris in the pit lane as McLaren had a slow stop, solidly holding third position. However, he had to overcome an additional attack from the penalty-hit Perez and Leclerc’s strategies aimed to slow him down in order to secure the third.

Lando Norris and Perez had an earlier collision, resulting in Perez’s five-second time penalty. This caused Perez to try and open the gap to Russell, preventing him from sealing the podium and the second place in the Constructors’ Championship as Lewis Hamilton was having a rare off-day.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team

Prior to the race, Mercedes led Ferrari by four points. Leclerc, wishing to help his team in the fight, allowed Perez to pass to create a gap bigger than five seconds to Russell.

Even though Leclerc allowed Sergio Perez by in the last laps to try and bump Russell off the podium, it didn’t work. Mercedes remains ahead of Ferrari in the championship after George Russell finished third and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton ninth in the final race of the 2023 season.

The Red Bull driver fell to fourth place by the end of the race, and Russell managed to save his position as he finished within 4s of Perez.

The Mercedes driver appreciated Charles Leclerc’s effort to keep Ferrari in second place in the Constructors’ standings throughout Ferrari’s last run at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, without resorting to dirty tricks.

“It was tight with Checo at the end, I thought Charles is going to back me up but respect to him for keeping it clean,” he said.

“I came out of the pits on a second set of hard tyres, but then Checo just came out of nowhere and had great pace.

“It was really tense at the end; the tyres were dropping off. Just really pleased to secure P2 for the team and I’m sure everyone will have a few drinks tonight.”

Russell shared how much his medical condition affected him throughout the race since he was feeling under the weather heading into the weekend and has been for a couple of weeks.

“I was probably coughing four times a lap then, so pretty miserable out there which didn’t help things.

“But as I said, a massive relief to have brought the car home P3, can’t believe it’s only the second podium of the year, but really happy to end the season this way.”

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team