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George Russell had an eventful race in Singapore, starting from the front row, chasing the win and eventually crashing on the last lap of the Grand Prix.
How Russell’s race unfolded
Russell started second, after losing pole position to Carlos Sainz by seven hundredths of a second on Saturday. He lost a position to Charles Leclerc at the start, but he regained it when the Monegasque had to stack up behind his teammate in the first round of stops, under the safety car.
Then, the Brit chased Sainz, but he was unable to really challenge him and battle for the lead. Eventually his opportunity came via strategy, as him and Lewis Hamilton pitted under the virtual safety car for a fresh set of medium tyres with seventeen laps remaining.
His rapid pace meant he was able to cruise past Leclerc for third, but Lando Norris made things difficult, as his stern defence helped him stay in second. Also contributing to that was Carlos Sainz’s decision to keep the McLaren in his DRS to make things tougher for Russell and secure the victory for himself.
As if that wasn’t enough, Russell clipped the wall at the entry of Turn 10, with just half a lap to go. The impact damaged the front right suspension of the Mercedes and Russell went straight into the wall. He was unable to rejoin and was classified in sixteenth, thus scoring no points.
— giFF1🏁 (@giFFormula1) September 17, 2023
Russell’s comments on the race
After the race, Russell spoke to F1TV about his race, as well as his crash in particular, and his disappointment was evident.
Lost for words to be honest. I think we were half a car’s length away from winning the race, had I been able to overtake Lando when I had that one opportunity. Because Carlos had done such a good job dictating the pace, giving Lando the DRS so we didn’t get the chance to overtake Lando.
And then, last lap, I don’t know what the hell happened there. Like whether it was a lack of concentration, maybe frustration knowing that that was our opportunity, gone. A mistake of one or two centimetres is just overshadowing the whole weekend.
It would have been a great weekend, the team did an amazing job, the tyres were great, the strategy was bang on. We were aggressive, we were bold, it was exciting. You know, it was really exciting out there and it’s just heartbreaking to be standing here with no points. Definitely sums this season up, but there certainly positives to take away. But yeah, nothing to say really.
He also reiterated that the strategy call made by Mercedes was the right one and it gave him the best opportunity to win the race.
It was definitely worth it. I was willing to lose a position or two if it gave us half a chance of winning the race. We knew that on the same strategy as Carlos we weren’t going to be able to overtake him on track.
We were bold, I was managing my tyres as we were closing that gap, because I knew I needed my tyres in the best state possible for the last five laps. It was a bit challenging, because I had Lewis behind and he was definitely pushing harder than I was.
As I said, it is such a shame. It was an one or two centimeters mistake and the whole weekend was gone. Massively, massively sorry to the whole team, they deserve more, we deserve more. But I am not going to let it cloud my weekend.
The result means that Russell stays down in seventh position in the standings, now 33 points behind fifth-placed Sainz and 71 behind his teammate, who climbed up to third in the standings after his podium finish today.
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