‘There was nothing more I could have done’ says Russell, after first lap contact with Sainz in F1 Sprint
George Russell finished P9 in the inaugural F1 Sprint at Silverstone, but the Briton was lucky to escape unscathed from first lap contact with the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz that left him P11 at the flag – with the pair at odds over who caused the coming together.
With Russell having qualified for the F1 Sprint in a sensational P8 after a heroic performance on Friday, Sainz was challenging the Williams driver on Lap 1 of the Sprint when the pair entered the tightening Brooklands corner – with Sainz (who’d started P9) coming from wide to try and attack Russell and the pair touching, causing the Ferrari driver to fall down the order to P18.
“I guess I was a victim of a mistake there from George,” said Sainz, who eventually recovered to P11 after the 17-lap encounter. “I got bumped off and it cost me, going back to last in Lap 1. Then obviously I had fun after that because I could make my way through the field with strong pace and finish 11th, to minimise the damage.
“But still, it has cost me. I should have finished today around P8, P7 and be in a good position for tomorrow, and unfortunately this has cost me quite a lot.”
“Carlos came from quite wide and sort of cut in on me,” countered Russell. “I saw him, but there was nothing really more I could have done with the angle I was at. I was trying to steer more, I was on the brakes but you could see I'd just started to lock up as he was closing the door, so there was nothing more I could have done.
“So I think it's one of those things; when you're coming from the outside, you can't really see what's on the inside, so I guess for him, he just didn't know where I was. Just one of those first lap things really.”
The stewards later handed Russell a three-place grid drop for Sunday's race for his part in the incident. But the verdict was handed down, Russell said he’d enjoyed the first ever F1 Sprint – although he did have one regret…
“Typical – our first top 10 and we don't get points for it!” joked Russell. “I had fun to be honest. There wasn't really any tyre management needed, so it was flat-out all the way, which definitely made it easier to stick with the guys and defend from the guys behind. But tomorrow is going to be difficult.”