Despite the major setback of his DNF at Silverstone, George Russell can take solace in his belief that Mercedes “are clearly back”.

The “false dawns” as Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has previously put it appear to be over for the team, with the W15 development programme paying off in a major way.

George Russell declares Mercedes ‘clearly back’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

George Russell’s Austrian GP win was followed with victory for team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix, after Russell had headed a Mercedes front-row lockout of the grid; Silverstone results that were very much earned on merit.

The British GP did come with a major blow for Russell, who was forced to retire his W15 due to a water system leak, but looking at the bigger picture, Russell was delighted to state Mercedes are back in the game.

Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com following his retirement, Russell said of Mercedes’ performance upturn: “I mean, it’s incredible.

“Lewis is on course to win, and we had the car, in normal dry circumstances, to be one-two.

“We’re clearly back and I think we will be fighting for race wins more often now.”

That being said, Russell, who led the early stages of a rain-affected British Grand Prix, could not totally hide the disappointment of being forced to retire from his home race.

“Within myself in the car, I’m feeling good,” he said, “but obviously, this is a real blow.

“To retire from any race, let alone your home Grand Prix, and we had the car to win.”

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Russell was running P4 and harrying Red Bull’s Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen at the point of his retirement, with Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin suggesting there “would have been a shot at” the win for Russell, depending on his ability to pass Verstappen.

“With a race like that, with the changing conditions, it’s quite hard to say this is where we would have finished,” said Shovlin in Mercedes’ post-Silverstone debrief.

“If it had been a dry race start to finish, looking at how George got off the line, how he was able to build a gap, I think he would have had a pretty straightforward afternoon.

“But if you take the point where we actually decided to retire the car, we were on intermediates, George was in P4, he was closing in on Max, so that was looking good.

“And to get him on the podium, he would have probably had to overtake Max at that point realistically, because we called the stop lap correct with Lewis when we went to dry tyres. So I think earlier it might have been a bit too damp.

“So as I said, minimum of P4, but there would have been a shot at it if he could have passed Max on track on the inter.”

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