Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff have thrown their support behind George Russell after the Mercedes driver crashed on the final lap of the F1 Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
At Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix, the Mercedes team took the decision to stop its two drivers in the final part of the race in order to fit their cars with new medium tyres and allow them to catch up with leader Carlos Sainz as quickly as possible, who was on worn tyres.
The strategy employed by the German manufacturer’s team paid off, as Russell and Hamilton were able to move up to the front of the race at breakneck speed, putting Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris under pressure during the final laps of the Grand Prix and providing the spectators with a grand finale.
However, on the final lap of the race, George Russell made a mistake under the brakes at Turn 10 and crashed his Mercedes into the Tecpro barriers, sending his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to third place on the podium, while Russell was forced to retire.
Hamilton & Wolff defend Russell
Speaking after the finish of the race in Singapore on Sunday evening, Lewis Hamilton drew on his own experience to offer his full support to his team-mate: “We’re all trying to be millimetre-perfect, and it’s very, very easy to make mistakes,” said Hamilton.
“It’s very easy for all of us to find ourselves in the position George was in. But he drove phenomenally all weekend, and it’s really unfortunate for him to finish that way on the last lap….but I know he’ll bounce back.”
Heartbreaking end to the race. We went bold and it so nearly paid off, but it’s these tiny margins that make the difference between victory and defeat. Proud of the team tonight and gutted I didn’t deliver the result they deserved. I’ll be back stronger. pic.twitter.com/hwTmqvETYk
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) September 17, 2023
Russell rookie error?
Hamilton then went on to explain that his team mate is still young and will make errors in the heat of the moment: “He’s continuing to grow, he’s continuing to improve. I know he’s going to keep getting stronger and faster, and if I can help him in any way I will because I’ll be here for the next two years [Hamilton has extended his contract with Mercedes until 2025].”
“I’ve got a lot of experience, I’ve been here long enough, but the race is the moment [of the weekend] when I’m most comfortable, and I think it’s enough to keep my head down.”
“If you look at last year for example, I made a mistake at Turn 7, I crashed into the wall. So it can happen to any of us.”
Wolff praises his drivers
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted that while he was pleased to see Hamilton on the third step of the podium, he felt that George Russell also deserved a trophy for his performance throughout the weekend.
“Yes, it’s great that Lewis is on the podium. He drove a brilliant race, and at the end he also had pace,” Toto Wolff told Sky Sports.
“It’s just a shame for George, because he worked hard for it. It could have been a good third and fourth, a lot of points, but now we’ve lost 22 to Ferrari.”
“It was just an unfortunate moment, he hit the wall because of a small mistake of a fraction of a second and that ended his great race. It’s a real shame, he would have deserved a podium.”
Russell responds to crash on social media
After the finish of the Singapore Grand Prix, George Russell posted a short message on his social networks telling his fans that he will be back “stronger”:
“It was a heartbreaking end to the race. We were bold and it almost paid off, but it’s those small margins that make the difference between winning and losing,” wrote the Mercedes driver on his X account (ex Twitter).
“I’m proud of the team tonight and disgusted that we didn’t get the result we deserved. I’ll be back stronger.”
"Formula 1 at its absolute finest" 🍿
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 17, 2023