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‘I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a weekend like this’ – Russell ‘glad’ to put Belgian GP behind him

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SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 30: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes prepares to drive on the grid

Lewis Hamilton may have offered a positive outlook of his and Mercedes' efforts in Belgium, where the seven-time world champion finished fourth – but his team mate George Russell was happy to see the back of the weekend after crossing the line in sixth.

Hamilton qualified fourth, but moved up a spot after Max Verstappen took a five-place grid drop for the race. And after surviving a close three-wide moment with Carlos Sainz and Oscar Piastri at Turn 1 on the opening lap, he settled into third.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to Belgian GP win as Red Bull bag 1-2 finish

Verstappen then made his way past, leaving Hamilton to battle Charles Leclerc for the final podium position. However, the Mercedes driver could not quite get close enough, with the team opting to pit him at the end of the race to take the fastest lap as the seven-time champion accepted fourth place.

Asked if he was satisfied with his Sunday at Spa, Hamilton replied: “Yeah. Started third but went backwards one place, but we expected Max to come flying by at some stage. [Red Bull] were eight-tenths to a second faster than everybody today, per lap, so not really in the same race.

"We got some good points; we got fastest lap at the end which is great. And lots of consistent points finishes for us as a team. We’ve made big, big strides as a team, we've just got to keep working away.”

SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 30: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1

Hamilton finished fourth in Belgium after being unable to reel in Leclerc in P3

Hamilton was also asked to describe the mood at Mercedes heading into the summer break, with the eight-time world champions currently second in the championship, but without a race win since the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

He said: “I think everyone is relieved they are going to get a break soon. It’s hard to assess – everyone is just head down, trying to work and trying to improve. Everyone is just pumped, just driven.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s been a positive weekend’ – Leclerc pleased with podium in Belgium but says Ferrari still have 'a lot of work to do'

Russell, on the other hand, admitted the summer break had come at a good time for him after struggling for much of the weekend. However, he believed that had it not been for some misfortune on the opening lap, he would have been fifth instead of sixth.

Assessing his race, Russell said: “It was alright. I was very unfortunate at the beginning. I made a really strong start, and then I saw Oscar [Piastri going slowly]. I thought it was a puncture, but didn’t realise he’d lost his steering.

SPA, BELGIUM - JULY 28: 8th placed qualifier George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes walks in

Russell was glad to see the back of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend after finishing sixth

“I decided to go to the left, he was just drifting to the left, I got boxed in, and I lost four positions. That probably cost me one position at the end of the race. I should’ve been ahead of Fernando [Alonso]. [But I’m] glad this weekend is over.

“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a weekend like this in my whole career. One, in terms of the weather changing so often. Like [Saturday], I don’t think I’ve lived a day of my life like [Saturday], it was just unbelievable.”

READ MORE: Verstappen opens up on radio exchange with engineer in Belgian GP after dominant recovery drive to 8th straight win

He concluded: “And from my own personal side, just a really challenging weekend. The [summer] break is coming at a good point. As a team happy with some good points on the board, opening that gap to P3 in the team’s championship. But were still eyes on Red Bull and clearly, we have a lot of work to do.”

Race Highlights: 2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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