Russell angry about momentous mistake

Mercedes driver George Russell is angry after the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix over a costly mistake that cost him a “comfortable third place”. The British driver delayed his tyre change until the rain started to fall, and the strategy saw him bumped up from eighth to third.

But after his pit stop for intermediates on lap 55, Russell appeared to have been distracted by a yellow flag for lapped Lance Stroll and joined the Aston Martin driver on the Mirabeau run-off zone.

Not only did this drop Russell behind Ocon and teammate Lewis Hamilton, but he was also hit by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez on his way back out of the run-off zone, earning the Brit a five-second penalty for “unsafe re-entry”.


“This is what happens when you’re not on your game!”

“I’m really annoyed with myself because P3 was almost guaranteed,” said Russell. “There was a yellow flag, I went off the gas and as soon as I touched the brakes I locked up and followed Stroll onto the runaway. That’s probably a lesson that when you’re not on your game and not focused, you make mistakes like that.”

“If there hadn’t been the yellow flag, I probably would have been more focused. Then I wouldn’t have come off the track and cost the team a comfortable third place.”

After his collision with Perez, Russell also reported strange behaviour at the rear of his Mercedes W14. But when the car settled down he suggested the team let him past Hamilton early P4 and protect a buffer to Leclerc, knowing that his five-second penalty would be added after he crossed the finish line.


READ MORE: Perez crash reveals Red Bull “secret”

Team order request “not a commitment”

“I definitely damaged the car a little bit. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue, but it worked itself out as the laps went on. I think the toe links bent at the rear. I felt really uncomfortable in the car, but we were the fastest on the track at that time. So I don’t really know what was going on.”

“I was held up by Ocon and Lewis, and Charles got on top of me. In those conditions, there was no way I was going to risk anything against Lewis. But with the five-second penalty, it could have been a good buffer if Charles had caught him.”

However, with Leclerc ultimately unable to make up any ground, Russell Hamilton followed in fifth place, a safe ten seconds ahead of the Ferrari driver.

“In the end it wasn’t necessary and I told the team there was no obligation and no pressure from my side and once I knew we were safe ahead of Charles I just brought it home,” he added. “But yeah, it’s a bitter disappointment when you do everything right 98 per cent of the time but that one little mistake costs you everything.”


MORE NEWS: Wolff on upgrade, “worse”?

Wolff explains radio to Russell

Russell’s plea on the radio, however, prompted Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff to call in himself and reassure the young Brit on the team radio. Asked about this, the 25-year-old says: “I was probably just taking my frustration out on myself. Yeah, nothing more than that. I think as a driver sometimes you want to get the frustration off your chest.”

“And maybe it’s not necessarily easy for everyone to understand why. And I actually caught that my mistake wasn’t shown on TV. I saw the replay after the race. So I don’t think it was clear to many people that we were actually in P3 on the track and lost that place.”

Wolff also commented on a possible team order after the race: “I’ve done it before,” he said over his radio to Russell during the race. “It’s just encouraging or a bit reassuring. Sometimes drivers don’t see if they’re fast or not.”

“I think when you’re sliding all over the place and the grip is terrible, and someone tells you that you’re actually pretty fast. And I do that because the race engineers are very much into tyres and strategy. And in that respect, I just try to support from the emotional side.”

READ MORE: Marko believes Perez title hopes over


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.