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Russell claims 'no reason' Mercedes couldn't win after fiery retirement

Russell claims 'no reason' Mercedes couldn't win after fiery retirement

Russell claims 'no reason' Mercedes couldn't win after fiery retirement

Russell claims 'no reason' Mercedes couldn't win after fiery retirement

George Russell has claimed there was "no reason" why he couldn't have won the Australian Grand Prix after a luckless afternoon ended in retirement.

The British driver made a stunning start to edge out pole-sitter Max Verstappen into turn one from the start to take the lead.

After a brief safety car period to recover Charles Leclerc's stricken Ferrari from the turn three gravel trap, Russell led team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen only for a second safety car period to be triggered by Alex Albon's crash for Williams.

Mercedes took the chance to make a cheap pit stop for Russell, but having dropped to seventh in the order, the safety car period was upgraded to a red flag, allowing the six drivers now ahead of him to change tyres during the stoppage.

Russell's day went from bad to worse when, having stormed his way back to fourth at the restart, his Mercedes power unit expired with flames trailing from the back of the W14.

"As soon as I came through the high-speed turns nine and ten, I felt something go," Russell told Sky Sports.

"Three corners later, I stopped – when it is not your day, it is not your day."

Really disappointing

"I felt comfortable, I felt strong," added Russell.

"The pace has been great all weekend and when you look at it, every time we have done something, we have maximised it. We had a great qualifying, we couldn't have done any better, the start was great.

"The first stint was really well managed, I could have extended that stint quite a lot and Lewis was pushing really hard behind me, but seeing the tyres afterwards, I probably would have been good thereafter.

"I see no reason why we couldn't have won because looking at the pace of Max - though I am sure he was just managing - it would have been difficult for him to pass, especially with Lewis in between the two of us. Really disappointing."

READ MORE: Verstappen wins Australian Grand Prix overshadowed by controversial red flag debacle

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