George Russell was surprised by pace of Ferrari in F1 Italian GP as he felt third was most he could have done, while Lewis Hamilton was content with fifth.

Third and fifth was probably as good as what could be hoped for Mercedes drivers Hamilton and Russell in F1 Italian GP. Not a Mercedes-esque track but for the latter his seventh podium this season. A top five finisher in every race bar one (Britain), last year he was Mr Saturday at Williams, now he has become consistent to score points and podiums.

Russell was surprised by the performance of Ferrari and Charles Leclerc majorly. “I think how Max and Red Bull performed were kind-of in-line with our expectations, especially ahead of the weekend,” said Russell. “But I think Ferrari, and Charles especially, surprised us a bit with how strong they performed”.

“I thought we maybe had half a chance to battle with Charles, but he showed some really strong pace. And it was just quite a long and lonely race to be honest. Our car certainly wasn’t performing at its best around this circuit. I think we have a good idea why that is, and sort-of happy that these low downforce, high-speed circuits are behind us now,” summed up Russell.

For now, he lies fourth in the drivers championship and is a mere 16 points behind Leclerc who is in second. With six races to go, he has a chance of a win, a slim chance but one nonetheless and that would certainly go a long for his ambitions and the teams ambitions in the Constructors championship as they hunt down Ferrari in second place.

For seven time World Champion Hamilton, he started from the back of the grid and a charge to Top 10 was an admirable drive, even though it wasn’t as flashy as Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez managed to do so. “It was ok, it was not the best at the beginning,” he said. “I struggled at the beginning…I don’t know”.

“I didn’t really make up a lot of ground for a long time, struggled to get past people, struggled with the balance of the car and bit by bit found my way to get it under control and then started to attack but lost a lot of ground I would say. The car was way better on the softs. With the heavy fuel on the mediums it was tough in following people and lots of weaknesses on the car that I experienced during the race but then it got stronger and stronger through the race.” summed up Hamilton.

Here’s Charles Leclerc defending Ferrari strategy, Turn 1 with George Russell