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Russell delighted to seal P2 in constructors' for Mercedes as Abu Dhabi podium concludes 'challenging season'

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 26: Third placed George Russell of Great Britain and

George Russell was “pleased” to help seal second place in the constructors’ championship for Mercedes after the Briton survived a late scare from Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc to score a podium in Abu Dhabi.

Russell lined up in fourth and, while he lost out in the opening exchanges to Lando Norris, he quickly began to make his way back up the order by overtaking the other McLaren of Oscar Piastri after a multi-lap battle.

READ MORE: Verstappen beats Leclerc to victory in Abu Dhabi to end record-breaking year on top

He then got ahead of Norris in the pit lane and was running in a comfortable third place. However, he had to survive a late charge from the penalty ridden Perez and the tactics of Leclerc looking to hold him back to finish third.

Asked how much P2 means to Mercedes, Russell said: “It means a huge amount. There are so many people back at the factory, Brackley and Brixworth, who have worked so hard to achieve this. It’s been a really challenging season.

“I’ve let the side down a couple of times this year, so pleased to have brought it across the line today. Today was tight with Checo at the end, I thought Charles was going to back me up but respect to him for keeping it clean. Can chill out now.”

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Russell grabs P4 after battle with Piastri

Mercedes had a four-point lead over Ferrari heading into the race and in the hopes of helping his team in the battle, Leclerc let Perez through late on so that he could create a gap bigger than five seconds to Russell.

The Mexican racer had a five-second penalty for colliding with Norris a few laps earlier, and so that he could beat Russell and see Mercedes score fewer points, Leclerc looked to help him finish on the podium – but the Briton was able to hold on.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from the 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Talking through the late battle, Russell said: “I came out of the pits on the second set of hards, I was managing a bit and then Checo just came from nowhere. I don’t know what happened there. They had great pace.

“It was really tense at the end; the tyres were dropping off. Just really pleased to secure P2 for the team and I’m sure everyone will have a few drinks tonight.”

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Russell jumps Norris with quicker pit stop

Russell came into the weekend feeling under the weather and explaining how much that affected him during the race, he added: "I was probably coughing four times a lap then, so pretty miserable out there which didn’t help things.

“But as I said, a massive relief to have brought the car home P3, can’t believe it’s only the second podium of the year, but really happy to end the season this way.”

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