George Russell with his reward. Picture:

MOTOR SPORT: George Russell claimed his first F1 podium place at the weekend with third place for the Mercedes team at the Australian Grand Prix.

The King’s Lynn-born race ace finished one place ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, helping the team to second place in the constructors’ championship, despite well-documented aero-dynamic problems.

Starting sixth on the grid, Russell made a blistering start to sweep past the McLaren of Lando Norris.

A stoppage on track for Max Verstappen brought out a brief virtual safety car, promoting Russell up to his final finishing position and a chance to spray the podium fizzy wine.

A delighted Russell said: “You’ve got to be in it to win it and capitalise from other’s misfortune.

“The guys at Brackley and Brixworth have been working so hard on giving us a reliable car. We got a little bit lucky today, probably twice, but we take it. There’s so much hard work going on back at base to try to get us back at the front so to be standing on the podium is a special reward for all their hard work. 

“We’re never going to give up, we’ve got to keep on fighting. This weekend we were a long way behind our rivals but here we are standing on the podium. 

“We’ve got to keep this up while we are on the back foot, maximise our points opportunities and I am sure we will get there after a few more races.”

Formula 1 moves on to Imola in Italy for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix next weekend.