Russell explains ’embarrassing’ rain mistake

George Russell now feels a little embarrassed that he thought it was raining during the Spanish GP

George Russell now feels a little embarrassed that he thought there was rain during the Spanish GP

George Russell has laughed off as “embarrassing” the moment he thought rain had arrived during Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Approaching the midway point of the 66-lap race, Mercedes driver Russell reported “Rain at Turn 5” over the radio. That even led to Red Bull boss Christian Horner poking his head out from underneath the prat perch to check the skies.

A few laps later, Russell again radioed in, commenting: “Is anyone else reporting rain?”, adding “Think it’s sweat from the inside of my helmet”, to which his race engineer Marcus Dudley replied: “Sounds like it’s just you that’s reporting rain. I suspect it might be the sweat.”

Russell, who rose from 12th on the grid to finish a superb third by the chequered flag, explained: “I had my hair dangling down in the first stint.

“I think I didn’t quite get it in my balaclava, and that was annoying me because it was in my peripheral vision.

“And then as I was sweating, because it wasn’t in my balaclava, it was dripping down onto my face. When I was then braking, it was coming onto my visor.

“So with the grey clouds, and the spots of water on the visor, I thought it was rain. So that was a bit of an embarrassing one.”

On lap 35, Russell then conjured one of the overtakes of the day by ducking down the inside of Carlos Sainz into Turn 1 after the Ferrari driver had tried to break the tow down the main straight.

Dudley immediately chipped in by saying to Russell, “Solid work”, prompting the British driver to question it by asking: “Just solid?”

That led to team principal Toto Wolff making a rare appearance over the radio to validate the move as he added: “It was pretty good.”

Asked whether he was surprised to hear Wolff, Russell said: “It was just a bit of a joke with Marcus because we have a bit of back and forth, and Toto likes the big radio messages of encouragement.

“Marcus and I sometimes say…just being nice and calm in a situation is sometimes the best way to get the result.

“But yeah, it was a pretty decent move on Carlos, and yeah, I thought it was a little bit more than solid, but it was just a good laugh.”

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