That was such an unfortunate time to make a rare error. Russell looked on the verge of finally nailing a point after doing a superb job in pitting early to undercut him some places and then defend them.
George Russell’s crash under the safety car in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola likely cost him his first top 10 finish in Formula 1, meaning he has still yet to break his points duck after 34 races.
It’s true that some drivers fare better in pressure situations than others and given the fact he has spent his entire F1 career in one of the worst and often the worst car.
George Russell has sent a letter apologising to the Williams team for his Imola crash behind the Safety Car, according to RaceFans.
The Briton was on course to finally earn his first Formula 1 points as he featured in the top 10 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as the Safety Car came out to cover Max Verstappen’s crash in the closing stages.
But it would be disaster for Russell who lost control of his Williams behind the SC and smashed into the wall, eliminating him from the race.
RaceFans report that the letter of apology he sent to the team has been well received.
“There was one reason and one reason only why we were in a points scoring opportunity this weekend,” it read.
“That was because every single one of you are giving 100% and pushing this race car to its limit, week in week out.
“I wish more than anything that I had kept it out of the wall and brought home a point or two,” he said, adding that if he had have been more careful behind the SC then he and Williams could have “come away with a result”.
But, he added that “we’re racers, we’re not here to play it safe.
“We go racing to push the boundaries. It will result in massive disappointment here and there, but the second we lift the foot off the throttle and start operating at 95%, we may as well stay home.
“We all know that we have a car that needs to be pushed to the edge, and sometimes beyond, to fight for points at the moment.
“I can feel that we’re getting there, slowly but surely.
“No doubt when it comes, it won’t stop and we’ll be on a roll. The future is bright for the team.”
Russell received a message of support from fellow Briton Lewis Hamilton who said that such mistakes happen, but Jolyon Palmer fears that another spin like that for Russell and “people will start talking”.
“Under the Safety Car, it is difficult to keep the tyres up to temperature and many drivers have spun or crashed in the past.
“Valtteri Bottas did it in China I remember and Romain Grosjean did it more famously in Baku and in Hungary as well back in the Lotus days.
“It happens. Formula 1 cars are very difficult to drive at very low speeds, particularly if you are on a used hard tyre.
“But the thing is for Russell, he’s got some much potential, he’s driving one of the weakest cars on the grid, particularly in race trim, he was having a storming drive but it is another race where he has got no points.
“And he has made a couple of mistakes in the past. In Germany last year, Robert Kubica scored a point and Russell was ahead of him until he went off [albeit] in very difficult conditions, but Kubica nicked that point from him last year.
“In Mugello this year, there was the late Safety Car and the restart where Russell started P9 and ended up getting passed by both Grosjean and Raikkonen.
“Again there are probably mitigating circumstances but he did slip back out of the points.
“I don’t think he struggles with pressure particularly because his qualifying laps are always under big pressure and he is always hooking up that Q1 lap. That end of Q1 lap is his speciality right now.
“But he is starting to get a bit of a monkey on his back now for this first point. He has had a few nearly moments and he hasn’t got it yet.
“I think if it happens again [a mistake] it’s going to start having people talking I think.
“He’s in a car that doesn’t afford him many chances of scoring points, so when he is so close and then misses out, and because he is such a talented driver, you do feel a bit sorry for him.
“I think if he was in a Racing Point or a McLaren, points would be such a regularity that there wouldn’t be such huge pressure and scrutiny every time he gets close and slips up.
“But then maybe the pressure is then there for a first podium chance or whatever else. There is always pressure in Formula 1.
“Right now he needs to get that point to get that monkey off his back.”
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