Mercedes on the front and second row at the Australian Grand Prix: who would have thought? After the problems noticed in the tests and in the first 2 rounds of the 2023 Formula 1 World Championship, the team directed by Toto Wolff seemed to be even more in crisis in Melbourne. Instead everything has changed.
In qualifying which took place when it was morning in Italy, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton signed a second and a third place that was certainly not predictable after a bad day yesterday, where the W14s were in obvious difficulty.
Instead, today, the same W14s that yesterday gave disheartening signals have literally come back to life. To think this way is George Russell, amazing second thanks to a Q3 that once again showed his exceptional qualities as a driver. The pole, moreover, escaped by 236 thousandths.
“We certainly didn’t expect such a result, that’s for sure. They’re doing a lot of work at the factory, here in Melbourne too, and what qualifying we managed to do. I felt I had a ‘live’ car, the lap done at the end was really at the limit and I have to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed not to have taken pole position”.
“It’s one of those days where things change very quickly. Yesterday we would have probably been very happy at the start if we had managed to get into the Top 4. But the car has been wonderful and it shows that we have potential to extract, some potential that’s really there.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
At Mercedes, the joy is understandable. But the engineers will have to understand what went in the right direction and allowed the single-seaters built in Brackley to push and show a potential hitherto hidden.
“Something has definitely gone in the right direction. I don’t know. We have to understand, because sometimes we have bad days, others are good. But we take what has come and we can’t wait to race tomorrow. It will be tough to fight against Max, but I’m really, really happy with this second place.”
“This is a totally unexpected result,” confirmed Lewis Hamilton. “I’m really proud of the team. George has done a fantastic job and being on the front and second rows is a dream for us. We’re working so hard to get back in front and to be so close to Red Bull is incredible. We hope to give them some ‘ nuisance”.
“The second attempt didn’t go as well as the first. I went a bit too far in the last sector, but in the end I also lost a bit at the start of the lap. But I’m not disappointed. I’ll try to finish later tomorrow. For tomorrow I hope for a day like in the first race of 2007, it would be fantastic”, concluded the 7 times world champion.
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