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Russell's Risky Move Ends in Seventh at Japanese GP

Russell Admits Mistake in Piastri Clash at Japan GP

07/04/2024

In an intense Japanese Grand Prix, George Russell’s late maneuver against Oscar Piastri sparks controversy, finishing seventh but admitting his tactical mistake.

George Russell finished seventh in the Japanese Grand Prix after a battle with Oscar Piastri, during which he forced his rival off the track. The Mercedes F1 driver acknowledges his mistake but would have been frustrated to remain behind the McLaren, especially since the Australian cut the chicane.

“It was a late move on my part. I was on the inside and there was contact. I think there was enough space for both of us to stay on track,” Russell assesses. “I would have been a bit more upset if I had finished the race behind him. At the end of the day, nothing gained and nothing lost.”

Russell praises the narrow gaps between Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin: “Seeing how close these manufacturers are, with Oscar and Fernando just a few seconds apart, it’s incredibly tight among these four teams. It will all come down to qualifying. There was just 0.2 seconds between third and eighth place on the grid.”

“It was the same in Bahrain. Whoever manages to qualify at the front of this pack will finish at the front of this pack. We know we have work to do. None of us are content with fighting for second place. China and the upcoming circuits should suit us better than the last three.”

Was the choice of hard tires the right one?

Mercedes opted for hard tires during the red flag, and Russell believes it was the right strategic decision: “Starting on hard tires was the correct choice. It gave us the flexibility to go for one or two stops.”

“If you start on mediums after the red flag, you’re forced into two stops. The first stint was tough. I was behind Lewis, and he was struggling with the front tires. It would have been good to be in the fight at the front. Indeed, after the first pit stop, we were in line with Lando and Charles ahead.”

Lewis Hamilton quickly offered to let Russell pass at the start of the race, and the Brit explains the reason to Sky: “I think I sustained some damage early on with Charles [Leclerc], as he went around the outside.”

The seven-time world champion is somewhat more skeptical than Russell about the choice of hard tires, though he understands it: “Nothing, I don’t think. I’m not sure what the right strategy would have been. I don’t know what a different strategy could have been.”

“But we still had two terrible sets of hard tires to use. It was a real challenge today. The hard tire was quite bad. The medium tire was much better. So yes, in hindsight, it seems we should have had two sets of mediums. But, in general, the car was rather poor today.”

Russell Admits Mistake in Piastri Clash at Japan GP

Russell’s Risky Move Ends in Seventh at Japanese GP. Russell’s Risky Move Ends in Seventh at Japanese GP

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