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F1: Leclerc leads championship as Russell relishes second way ahead of teammate Hamilton

Mercedes driver George Russell had high hopes when he joined the team that had just won eight consecutive Constructors’ World Championship titles. However, the 2022 season is not going as planned, with the Silver Arrows clearly lacking pace against Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing. Nevertheless, the former Williams driver is delighted to find himself in second place in the Drivers’ Championship several places ahead of his illustrious teammate.

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc took home his second win of the season after a Grand Slam in Melbourne. The Monegasque won the Australian Grand Prix from pole position while also snatching the fastest lap of the race. He now holds a 34-point lead over Russell, after reigning world champion Max Verstappen retired for the second time out of three races so far this season.

Verstappen won the only race he finished thus far, making it clear that they only need to solve their reliability issues and Red Bull can surely challenge Ferrari for the title. Meanwhile, both Mercedes drivers have benefitted immensely from the double Red Bull retirement in Bahrain and again from Verstappen’s DNF in Australia.

In fact, had it not been for those Red Bull retirements, there would not have been a Mercedes podium in the opening three races in 2022. However, the Silver Arrows have gotten at least the reliability sorted, with both cars making it until the end so far.

“It doesn’t matter how fast the car is, if you don’t make it to the end then you are not there to pick up the pieces,” said Russell, as quoted by the BBC. Indeed, Verstappen has proven that he has the pace to challenge Leclerc on-track, but his retirements have dropped him down to sixth place in the championship with 25 points off his victory in Jeddah.