Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have vowed to work together to stop Max Verstappen from claiming his 16th victory of the season in Brazil. Mercedes have yet to cross the chequered flag in first place this term but they have a great chance in Sao Paulo.
Russell will start on pole, alongside team-mate Hamilton. And they are willing to work together to make sure that Red Bull do not come out on top once again, even it one of them have to sacrifice their own race.
“We’ll work together as a team tomorrow. And, you know, this is about the team,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got to get this result for the team. I think it’d be incredibly special. And obviously, we’re chasing the red guys. So it could be good.”
Russell suggested that he and Hamilton could go on a “split strategy” to widen their chances of securing their first win, but that would be a risk for one of the Mercedes pair.
“It’s crazy to think we’re both starting on the front row and Lewis did a great job coming from P8, so it’s going to be exciting,” Russell said. “And I’m sure Max is going to be flying tomorrow, coming through the pack. But we’re in a luxury position that we can maybe split the strategy and go for the win.”
Russell had an outstanding sprint race on Saturday where he was able to battle past Verstappen to comfortably close out pole position – securing himself eight Championship points in the process.
Russell explained: “I think we were confident that we could finish second, and we thought Max would probably have quite an easy run to be honest.
“We knew that if we weren’t ahead of him at Turn 1, it was going to be very difficult to stay ahead of him. I started attacking in the early laps. And I thought once he gets some temperature in his tyres, he’ll be away. And it was a little bit tricky. You had to balance the risk and reward, because obviously, you know, there’s only one extra point…
“As much as I wanted to win this race today it’s only one extra point and obviously you’re setting yourself up for tomorrow. So you had to be a little bit careful.
Russell also clarified that there will not be any team order if he is left to battle Hamilton for the victory.
“There definitely won’t be any team orders,” he said. “But I think between the two of us we will definitely be strategic to try and get that win for the team.
“I think as we saw in Mexico that we both did the same strategy and ultimately it affected us both. Sitting here right now, we probably don’t know what the right strategy is going to be. So, you know, we’ll race each other fairly, for sure. And I’m sure we’ll probably be splitting the strategies tomorrow to try and cover all options.
“And, you know, hopefully one of us comes away happy tomorrow. But I think we, we both recognise based on recent experience, we’re probably going to have to go two separate ways.”