George Russell drops tease over Mercedes move after incredible Belgium GP qualifying

George Russell says he's learning in Mercedes

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George Russell has insisted he “wants to be fighting for pole positions every single week” after producing one of the all-time great qualifying displays at Spa this afternoon. In a Williams car widely viewed as uncompetitive, the 23-year-old was only denied pole position by 0.321seconds after a dramatic final lap from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton was third. 

And Russell’s display will only serve to heighten the chances that he will be joining the latter at Mercedes next year.

Toto Wolff’s dilemma over whether to promote the British driver, who remains part of the Mercedes Young Driver programme, or stick with Valterri Bottas has been much publicised.

It’s a decision that Wolff hinted earlier today he has already made, and the comments of Russell after his heroics suggested he’s keen for the chance to make a place on the front row of the grid a regular occurence.

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“An amazing feeling,” he said afterwards.

“We definitely did not expect to be starting on the front row. We did everything right at the right moment. Often in these positions, that’s what it’s all about. So happy for the whole team, we obviously had a fantastic result in Hungary and it feels like our hard work is starting to pay off and people are starting to recognise it.

I had a really good feeling from lap one even in FP3. Here in the wet, when it mattered, we really put everything together. It was an exceptional ending. This is what F1 is all about, that sort of feeling. I missed that. I want to be fighting for pole positions every single week.”

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On the lap that ultimately secured second place, Norris admitted he knew he’d gone quick.

“The engineer was on the radio to me and I knew it was a good lap.

“It was so tricky out there. Because we’re not in Q3 every time I was in a bit of luxury that I could put everything on the line and really go for it. But qualifying is over, and the race is tomorrow. We have to make sure we have a good one.”

Qualifying was held up for around 45 minutes following a bad crash for McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Sebastian Vettel one driver to voice his anger abouut the session going ahead in adverse conditions.

Russell however, admitted he would be happy to see rain again tomorrow.

“I think so (when asked if he wants rain).

“If the conditions are like this, overtaking and racing will be really difficult and really tricky. All of us hope for something consistent, whether it’s wet or whether it’s dry.

“But I’m pretty confident we won’t have that tomorrow and it’ll be a tricky race for the guys on the pitwall. We’ve got to make sure we’re there at the end. You’ve got to be in it to win it.”

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