Lewis Hamilton pays tribute to George Russell’s podium at the Australian GP

Sunday’s race saw the seven-time world champion take third before falling behind Sergio Perez. However, Russell was able to jump the two to the first safety car before holding off his teammate late.

“It’s a great result, this weekend we had so many difficult moments with the car, so to get fifth and sixth in qualifying and then to progress like we did, with the reliability, we don’t certainly weren’t expecting third and fourth,” Hamilton told Sky Sports.

“George did a great job today. I got to see his battle against Perez a bit and I wish I could have been part of it – but nonetheless we are taking the points and continuing to push.

“I couldn’t fight [Russell] for the third because the engine was overheating, so I had to back off. But we got as many points as we could as a team, so that’s great.

Russell finished second in the Drivers’ Championship and yet is aware that Mercedes still have an uphill battle to challenge Ferrari and Red Bull for the title.

He said: “It’s an honor for everyone at Brackley and Brixworth – it doesn’t matter how fast your car is if you’re not there at the end to pick up the pieces.

“This weekend we were probably the fifth fastest team behind McLaren and Alpine, but we’re here with P3. I’ve only just realized that I’m P2 in the championship, which is just crazy to think [about].

“So we have to be really proud of the work we’ve done so far with the lack of performance we’ve had. We think we can get there, but it won’t happen overnight and it will take several races. before closing the gap.

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