George Russell wowed by Mercedes qualifying after winning pole

SILVERSTONE, England — After securing pole position for the British Grand Prix ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, George Russell said Mercedes could never have dreamt of such a strong performance at the start of the season.

Russell beat Hamilton to pole by 0.171 seconds, with McLaren’s Lando Norris in third, 0.040 seconds further adrift.

Mercedes started the season struggling to break the top six positions on the grid, but a series of upgrades to the car from the Monaco Grand Prix onwards has closed the gap to rivals Red Bull and McLaren.

“This is definitely one of the best feelings I’ve ever had on a Saturday afternoon,” Russell said.

The car was just insane and in Q3 it just really came alive.

“Without doubt, one of the best feelings I’ve ever had driving this circuit, and crossing the line, seeing my name P1 and seeing we’re both [Russel and teammate Hamilton] on the front row, we couldn’t have even dreamt of that after the first three or four races.”

Despite setting the fastest lap, Russell said the earlier elimination sessions in qualifying were nail-biting affairs from inside the cockpit.

Qualifying started wet and then dried, with the fastest times in both Q1 and Q2 set right at the end of the sessions.

Mercedes was planning to save two new sets of soft tyres from Russell’s allocation for Q3, but in doing so increased the pressure not to make a mistake.

“In Q3 we really turned it up, because in Q1 and Q2 it was very, very challenging,” he added.

“Probably going into Q3 was the most pressure I’ve ever felt in a qualifying session, because through all of the Q1 and Q2 runs, it felt like I was on the verge of getting knocked out every single occasion.

“I wasn’t feeling that confident with myself, but as soon as I went through Turn one and Turn two in Q3 I felt good and managed to do a lap.”

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