Mercedes achieves a double podium, but Red Bull won again

(CNN) — Mercedes secured their first double podium of the year as Lewis Hamilton finished second and George Russell third at the Spanish Grand Prix, another race won again by a dominating Max Verstappen.

“What a result for our team,” Hamilton later told Sky Sports. “We certainly didn’t expect this result today so I just want to take my hat off to my team and thank you very much to everyone at the factory who continues to push and bring us closer to the (Red) Bulls.”

Hamilton put in an impressive performance in the race, passing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz to take second place, and never seemed to give it up.

Behind him, Russell moved up nine places as he fought his way through the field to third place and held off a late charge from Sergio “Checo” Perez in the all-conquering Red Bull car.

“A sign of things to come, hopefully,” Russell told Sky Sports. “It’s definitely better, just putting those lap times and comparing them to the other guys, Aston and Ferrari, we’re getting faster and faster.” Very happy to be on the podium”.

Russell and Hamilton finished on the podium behind Verstappen0 Credit: Hasan Bratic/picture alliance/Getty Images

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have struggled to their usual highs since that fateful race in Abu Dhabi 18 months ago when the British driver controversially lost his eighth world title.

While Red Bull has exercised its dominance since, Hamilton finished sixth in the Drivers’ Championship last year and Russell finished fourth. This year, Hamilton is currently in fourth place, with Russell one spot behind him.

It was the first race this season where Mercedes showed an improvement in their car, hoping to overtake current rivals like Aston Martin and Ferrari, although Red Bull is still well ahead of all other competitors.

“We have made decisions to go in another direction,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff told Sky Sports afterwards.

“We changed so many parts that we had variables that we didn’t understand. So it was a risky decision, but everyone pushed forward and we had a good race car. I think it just took the scare at the start of the season to understand that it won’t go any further.

However, the improved car is still no match for Verstappen, who won his third race in a row and the fifth of seven races this season.

“I think (Red Bull) is still too quick at the moment, but we’re working on it,” Hamilton added afterwards, tempering expectations. “One step at a time and if we can get closer to the end of the year that would be amazing, but if not next year.”

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