After some hard racing between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at the Japanese Grand Prix, an obviously frustrated George asked the team: “Who do we want to fight here, each other or the others?”
Later in the race, George suggested to Mercedes that they keep Hamilton behind him until the last lap, even though Lewis was on much fresher tyres, so that he can protect him from Carlos Sainz, who also had a tyre advantage.
Mercedes declined and asked George to let a much faste Lewis through. This prompted George to say: “If you want to play the team game, he pushed me off the track earlier.”
After the race George played down the significance of his radio messages.
“It was definitely worth a punt,” George said.
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“The three-stop was closer, or faster, than the one-stop was. But the one-stop gave us a chance to be in P3 if there was a Safety Car or a red flag.
“Ultimately we did have a shot but the end result was a fair representation.
“When you’re in the car, 48 laps in, giving it everything, trying to make a suboptimal strategy work, that radio is a tool to release frustration.
“Overtaking was difficult, you saw Piastri with much fresher tyres, he didn’t fly by, it took him two laps and he only just achieved it. It’s easy in hindsight.
“My goal now is to achieve P2 for the team in the constructors’. On my personal side, the drivers’ is out of the window.
“It’s been a disaster of a season, so many missed chances,” Russell concluded.