George Russell obatained his second seasonal podium today in Barcelona, his third in his career overall. The Mercedes driver took advantage of his good start, immediately going from a starting P5 to P3, and after Verstappen's gravel tour he held the second podium position for a while.
After Leclerc's issues, and Verstappen's second pit, Russell found himself leading the Spanish GP, until Lap 31, when Perez passed him.
The British driver, however, was extremely satisfied with his performance. Asked in the post-race interview if in his opinion Mercedes has truly "returned", he replied: "I'd love to say that but today was very tough, I gave everything I could and to us hats off, we did an amazing job."
"I'm just so proud to be standing here, the guys have worked so hard, so this is for everyone back in Brackley and Brixworth, thank you."
Russell is still the only driver to have ended every race in 2022 so far in the top 5, but achieving today's podium wasn't easy, especially considering the hydraulic issues which hit both Mercedes cars in the final laps.
"Yeah, it was very difficult in my last few laps, it was a survival race. But when we knew we had the gap, as I said, I was just proud to bring it home in P3, and thanks to all the fans here, they have been amazing all weekend, and their support."
"Formula 1 at the moment is at an incredible place, so it's great to be here in this moment."
Russell also recalled the laps in which he was leading, and discussed the hardships of staying ahead of the reiging world champion:
"When I had the Red Bulls in my mirrors all I was doing was my maximum to keep them behind and it was enjoyable."
With today's good haul of points, the German team has consolidated even more their P3 in the constructors'standings, with 70 points of advantage on McLaren.
"Just pleased to be able to bring it home P3, a lot of points on the board for us. Well done Max, great job."
Later on, he expressed his satisfaction for today's performance in an interview to Sky Sports, while also praising Verstappen's strong driving:
"It was a satisfying thing because we truly fought for it, I felt for Max to be honest, obviously for having DRS troubles, but I felt like we didn't make it easy for him and put up a bit of a fight."
The new upgrades introduced at the beginning of the racing weekend certainly have proved to be successful, but Russell warns that there's a long way to go to return in the championship fight:
"Sorry for Charles, but ultimately you've got to be there at the end and it goes to show the hard work we have see and we have been doing at Brixworth and Brackely, over these past couple of weeks we really tried turning this around and I think we're not quite back in the mix just yet, but we have definitely turned the corner and I think we're on the right track now."