No on-track battles with Hamilton until Mercedes can race for wins, says Russell

The first three Grands Prix of the season saw the Brits each snatch a surprise podium, leaving Russell second in the championship despite their perceived lack of pace.

The 24-year-old admitted Mercedes had “not at all” closed the gap on Ferrari and Red Bull, with the latter suffering several retirements in the first few weeks.

While stuck behind the title contenders, Russell said he and Hamilton would avoid any battle on the track.

“These little things in the scheme of things don’t really mean a whole lot,” Russell said.

“Obviously everyone wants to finish ahead of their teammate, but Lewis and I have no interest in fighting for P5, P6.

“We want to work together to close this gap. So there’s no hard feelings if he’s ahead of me, there’s no hard feelings if I’m ahead of him, and we’re not too concerned about that at the moment.

“We have a bigger picture. And the long game we have to play is to catch these guys because we are here to win.

standard Sport

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