Russell ‘kicking himself’ after Monaco mistake that cost podium
By Ian Parkes
Monday 29th May, 2023 - 8:06am
George Russell was left kicking himself after making a mistake he feels cost him a guaranteed podium in the Monaco Grand Prix.
Holding that slot after taking on intermediate tyres, Russell was suddenly under investigation for an ‘unsafe rejoin’ of the track.
It materialised Russell had been forced to use the escape road at Mirabeau, and in attempting to return, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez hit him from behind.
What was not apparent, however, is why Russell erred in the first place.
Explaining the situation, he said: “It was an exceptionally boring race until the rain came down. It sort of came out of nowhere as it wasn’t really on the forecast.
“I’m really kicking myself because P3 was almost guaranteed after not pitting.
“I came out, there was a yellow flag, I backed off, and as soon as I touched the brakes, I locked up and followed (Lance) Stroll up the escape road.
“That’s probably a lesson, that when you’re not on it and you’re not focused, you make those mistakes.
“Probably if there wasn’t a yellow flag there, I would have just been focusing more, and I wouldn’t have gone off and cost the team a comfortable P3.”
Russell needed calming words from Wolff
Russell received a five-second penalty which ultimately did not cost him further as the original incident saw him drop from third to fifth.
The Briton was furious with himself, prompting an intervention from team principal Toto Wolff over the team radio in a bid to calm down his driver.
“I was venting frustration at myself,” said Russell. “Nothing really more than that.
“As a driver, you sometimes want to get this frustration out of your body, which maybe is not necessarily easy for everybody to understand why.
“I actually learned that my mistake wasn’t actually shown on television until a replay after the race. Rejoining was the prime mistake but I don’t think it was actually clear to many people that we were effectively P3 on track and I lost it.
“I had a lot of people texting me saying ‘Well done for P5’, not realising that I had made a big mistake which cost me a P3.”
Russell was additionally fortunate the hit from behind from Perez did not damage the car more other than what he has stated were toe links which “got bent at the rear end”.
“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue but it kind of sorted itself out as the laps progressed,” said Russell
“I felt really uncomfortable in the car but we were the quickest on track during that period, so I don’t really know what was going on.
“As soon as I knew we were safe to Charles (Leclerc, given the penalty), I just brought it home.
“But it’s very bitterly disappointing when you do everything right for 98 percent of it, but that one tiny mistake costs everything.”