‘He really deserved a point today’ – Vettel feels for Russell after Williams driver misses out at Mugello
George Russell came agonisingly close to scoring his first Formula 1 points in the Tuscan Grand Prix after slipping from P9 to 11th at a late restart. And Sebastian Vettel – the man who denied him that 10th place – said the Williams driver really deserved to break his duck and finally get on the scoresheet after his performance in the race at Mugello.
That restart was triggered by Lance Stroll's Lap 42 crash, and after a poor getaway off the line, Russell found himself in P11 and unable to get past Vettel to take Williams’ first point of the season – and the first of his career.
“I felt a bit sorry, to be honest, for him, because I thought he drove really well,” Vettel told Ziggo Sport after the race, “especially before the last restart he was faster than us, he was more consistent, he managed his race well. I could see what he was doing but yeah, it will come for him… poor soul!"
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Vettel went as far to say that Russell fought “harder than anyone else”, so hungry was the Briton for points in a race of attrition that claimed eight cars.
“I think he really deserved a point today,” said Vettel. “[But] obviously if I let him by because I think he fought probably harder than anyone else today then, I’m probably hung," he joked. "I feel a bit sorry for him because he really fought his way up to the points and didn’t get the result that he deserved."
Russell himself was visibly frustrated by the outcome of the race that got away from him on the final restart – for reasons that escaped him.
“We had the race under control, I was in P9, quicker than the Ferraris who were behind me and I was driving as fast as I could every single lap of the race. Then with the red flag and the restart, I just lost all my positions off the line, we had a really poor getaway – don’t know why, because the procedure seemed to be on target.
“It makes it even more frustrating. I don’t know what’s going on with all these red flags. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had three red flags over the course of two weekends.
“Ultimately, that kind of ruined the race for us. Everything was under control and I was ready to bring it home in P9. Ultimately, I’m just disappointed for us, the team, as I feel like we deserved that.”