Mixed emotions for Russell after red flag finish to Q3

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Mercedes' George Russell will start from third on the grid in tomorrow's sprint race for the Brazilian Grand Prix after a final round lap that clocked in at 1:12.059s.

However he was also the cause of a red flag stoppage moments later when his car slid off at turn 4 and into the gravel, where he got beached while trying to make for the escape road.

It meant that Russel could take no further part in the session - but as it turned out, no one else had a chance to improve their initial Q3 times either once the track went green again.

The intermittent rain had continued to fall, and while fairly light it left the track too soaked for anything but nervous reconnaissance laps on intermediate tyres by Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton before the chequered flag.

It meant that Haas' Kevin Magnussen clinched his maiden pole and will start from P1 in tomorrow's sprint alongside Max Verstappen, with Russell third.

"There were some mixed emotions for me in that session," Russell admitted afterwards. "P3 is a good starting position for tomorrow.

"I have to say a massive congrats to Kevin and Haas on pole," he added. "These kinds of unexpected results are exactly what make sport so special!

"It was a pretty unique experience in Q3. We were one of the last cars on the road, and as the lap progressed, the rain was falling harder and harder

"It was a lot wetter in the final corner than on the lap before," he explained. "On the next lap, I lost the car into turn 4 and actually broke the headrest because my head was bouncing round so much.

"Then I tried to do a 360 and beached the rear tyres in the gravel, which wasn't my best decision. There's a lot of gravel in there but the guys will have to take it to pieces to get everything out. Hopefully it will all be okay."

It's a better outcome for Russell than it was for his team mate Lewis Hamilton who will have to line up in eighth place tomorrow, ahead of Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

The outcome of the sprint will set the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix, meaning Hamilton has plenty of opportunity to move forward.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13. 11.11.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Qualifying

"That was a difficult session overall," he commented. "We were among the final cars on track, so it was getting wetter out there on my lap compared to the cars in front.

"I think we probably lost some tyre temperature while queuing in the pit lane, so it just didn't come together on the one timed lap that we got in and the grip just wasn't there for me."

"The final session was all about track position," chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin commented. "The conditions were deteriorating and, as it turned out, you wanted to be at the front of the group to get the best of the track.

"Neither driver had a great lap in the final session; George was happier with his car than Lewis, who was lacking grip on the final run.

"But we have plenty of racing laps to recover with Lewis and at least he's ahead of [a] Ferrari and one Red Bull on the grid. The unsettled weather is forecast to continue," he added. "That may bring with it more opportunity."

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