George Russell: Mercedes can fight for Spanish GP win

BARCELONA, Spain - George Russell thinks Mercedes can challenge Lando Norris and Max Verstappen for victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Russell finished narrowly behind teammate Lewis Hamilton, both Mercedes drivers start on the second row.

The Mercedes pair finished just over 0.3 seconds behind Norris' lead time.

When asked if he was frustrated despite the strong result and narrowly finishing behind Hamilton, Russell said: "Two milliseconds is the biggest gap I've had at the last four races to the driver around me, so it's crazy to think that.

"I'm taking the positives, as a team we're in the mix, Lando did a really great lap, I don't think Lewis and I kind of really put it together perfectly, I felt like there was maybe two tenths on the table, not the gap we saw to pole, but nevertheless we're P3, P4 and in a great place to fight for a win tomorrow."

The result will be a huge boost for Mercedes and further evidence their most recent upgrade has a delivered a major step forward.

A new package in Canada helped Russell to pole position -- and he might well have won with an error-free race -- but Spain was considered the place where the true success of the upgrade would be tested.

Like Russell, Hamilton was in an upbeat mood on Saturday afternoon.

"It's good to be back up here. I miss being on this sofa," he said in the post-qualifying press conference for the top three.

While both drivers conceded they could have been closer to the front with cleaner qualifying laps Mercedes will take huge comfort from being in front of both Ferraris.

"Generally it's great to see we are progressing," Hamilton added.

"Really you've seen over the last couple of races that we're slowly climbing closer to the guys up front. I think there was a little bit more performance in the car today but it was really on the knife edge and so we've got some improvements to make to the car.

"But as I said, I'm really happy to be here. P3 is a pretty good place to be in for the start with that long run down to Turn one."

Russell echoed Hamilton's feelings on what the qualifying result said about Mercedes' latest upgrades.

"Well you never know 100%, but this is for sure the most confident we have been over the last three years of what we've brought to the car, and it's natural as well,

"We're all gaining experience and we're all three years into these regs [regulations], and we all know what makes a good race car in this sort of era.

"It's proven how tight it is out there with the top four teams at the moment, in the coming races it'll probable be marginal differences making a big difference in terms of your grid position, but that's what F1 should be about."