Hamilton and Russell revel in hustling Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell salvaged their Miami GP weekend, and enjoyed beating Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell salvaged their Miami GP weekend and enjoyed beating Ferrari

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell emerged from a difficult Miami Grand Prix weekend at least savouring the fact they had put Ferrari in the shade.

Mercedes’ troubling W14, described by team principal Toto Wolff after qualifying as “a nasty piece of work”, again undermined the two drivers during qualifying at the Miami International Autodrome.

Hamilton failed to even make it out of Q2 and started a miserable 13th. Russell, who had only just scraped into Q3, was at least aided by Charles Leclerc’s crash that curtailed the session as he started sixth.

As has so often been the case since the introduction of the new aerodynamic regulations at the start of last season, Mercedes’ race pace overshadowed its one-lap form as Hamilton and Russell made up seven and two places respectively to finish sixth and fourth.

What was particularly pleasing for both drivers were the moves they pulled on Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz at various stages during the race as the Scuderia duo finished seventh and fifth respectively.

Hamilton, who barely made any progress during the first third of the 57-lap race due to being stuck in a DRS train before staging a recovery which saw him pass Leclerc late on to claim sixth, said: “I really enjoyed battling with all the different cars.

“It was great at the end to be able to catch the Alpine and the Ferrari, and overtake a Ferrari, for example.

“Honestly, it felt great to see the Ferrari up ahead and be catching him (Leclerc) bit by bit.

“It’s really impressive that they’re so quick on a single lap, but I don’t know what was going on with their race.

“But to come from 13th and get back into the hustle with them was great.”

After his woes with the car in qualifying, Hamilton declared it “great to have pace”, allowing him to enjoy “a couple of great overtakes” as “that’s what I live for”.

He added: “If we had qualified where I should have probably qualified, I would have had a much easier, smoother day.

“But I prefer days like this where there’s a bit of adversity and you have to pull it all together and deliver, so great fun to do that.”

Russell hoping Imola upgrade “a step in the right direction”

Russell, meanwhile, passed both Leclerc and Sainz on track at various stages, the latter after Hamilton had allowed his team-mate by given they were on different strategies.

“I finished P4 on merit,” said Russell. “To jump ahead of the Ferraris was really satisfying. I couldn’t have done any more.

“It was a more normal day for us after the challenges in qualifying, but, of course, there’s still work to do to jump ahead of Aston Martin and close the gap to Red Bull.”

Suggested to Russell that it was another weekend where Mercedes had steadily improved, he replied: “That’s a fair assessment.

“I think it’s probably because the car is quite challenging to drive, and we’ve got a lot to improve”

With the first major upgrade due on the car for the Emilia Romagna GP in two weeks’ time, Russell added: “We know where we are at the moment. Imola is a new weekend, we’ll have some new bits on the car.

“Hopefully they’re positive. It’s not going to change the world for us in the short term, but hopefully, it’s a step in the right direction.”

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