‘I’m kicking myself’ – Russell apologises to Mercedes after Canada DNF
George Russell started the Canadian Grand Prix in fourth, and was running in that position as he tried to pressurise Fernando Alonso ahead into a mistake. Instead, the error came from the Mercedes man as he ran wide over the kerbs and clattered into the wall.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one that can bite, and although the fabled Wall of Champions didn’t claim a victim in the 2023 Grand Prix, the exit of Turn 9 did. Russell had been running within DRS range of the Aston Martin ahead, as he attempted to get close enough to pass for a podium place. Instead, he found himself limping back to the pits with a broken front wing and a rear-right puncture after clouting the wall.
“I just went a bit deep into the right-hander, and then from the left I just touched the kerb, but I clearly hit it with the bottom of the car,” a downbeat Russell said afterwards.
“The next thing I knew I was up in the air and when I landed, lost the rear and I was in the wall. [I'm] kicking myself because such a small error has big consequences and that’s how it is on circuits like this. So kicking myself from my side.”
Russell did manage to make it back out and re-join the race down in last position, initially making no real progress back through the field. But once his tyres were up to temperature and some others started pitting, he soon found himself back in the mix – even opportunistically making a double overtake on the squabbling Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries.
But he didn’t make it to the flag, overheating brake ducts curtailing his race and denying him the opportunity to pick up any points.
“I did a good job to get back into the mix and obviously had a bit of an issue with the brakes. It all stemmed from my mistake. Sorry to the team, they put so much hard work in. The car was performing well, we weren’t expecting to be competitive here, yet we were putting up a good fight. It looks good for the future, just disappointed in the now.
“[It] just wasn’t good enough and there were at least 12 points there on the table for us as a team.”
Russell had noted that perhaps his mistake was partially due to over-pushing to try and catch Alonso, saying that the Spaniard was “more competitive” than Mercedes had expected. The Aston Martin man was able to overtake Russell’s team mate Lewis Hamilton on track on merit, and hold him at bay until the chequered flag.
But with the upgrades working well and more on the way, there were still positives to take from the weekend for the Silver Arrows, even if Russell wasn't in any mood to appreciate them after his second retirement of the season.
Mercedes have managed to retain second in the constructors’ championship thanks to Hamilton's podium, 13 points clear of Aston Martin.