Russell: We saw Hamilton’s speed

George Russell believes his team-mate, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, is finally back up to speed after struggling in the first part of the season.

The Mercedes driver has been off the pace this season due to a new set of rules which have resulted in the Briton struggling with the W13 car, which has included bouncing with an extra stiff ride.

Although he took the podium in the first race of the season in Bahrain, Hamilton subsequently finished behind his teammate George Russell in the next seven races.

The seven-time champion has since shown signs of finding performance and greater stability with his car after claiming three consecutive third places at the last three races: Canada, Silverstone and Austria.

At the Red Bull Ring, Hamilton also had a great performance and before the incident in qualifying it looked like he could have had a high starting position. In the end, he reached a new pedestal.

Assessing what he has seen from Hamilton recently, and speaking before the race in Austria, Russell said: “As a driver, you want to finish ahead of everyone, and that includes your team-mate.”

“I knew the challenge I faced before the season, against Lewis and I saw first hand how great he is,” he pointed out.

“A lot of times in any sport you get into a groove, a little bit off the pace, and things seem to go for you or against you, and obviously I had a pretty good run.”

“Those first nine races – maybe eight races – I’d say they were pretty good. The last two races (before Austria) were a bit more difficult for me.”

“But we’ve seen in the last few races how fast Lewis is,” he praised the seven-time champion.

On the other hand, the younger British driver in the German team touched on his race in Austria. He believes that it was frustrating that he had an incident, but he is satisfied with what was achieved.

“It was a bit frustrating to have the incident in turn four, and obviously I lost a lot of time per lap because of the damage, probably a second per lap.”

“After that, finding out I got a penalty, then changing the front wing, a 20 second long pit stop, I guess it wasn’t too bad to end up where we were and come back through traffic a minute behind the leader – although they obviously did an extra pit stop, ” Russell concluded.