George Russell: “I couldn’t believe what was happening”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

George Russell missed out on his first race win in his first race for Mercedes due to a pit stop mixup. Here are his first reaction.

Russell was relatively comfortably in the lead with no more pit stops planned, when a Safety Car prompted Mercedes to do another “safety stop”. However the stop turned into a disaster. First the team put tyres meant for Bottas on Russell’s car, then they called Russell back in for another pit stop.

However Russell managed to again climb his way back to P2 and was hot on the heels of Sergio Perez when a tyre puncture dropped him down the grid. In the end he managed to finish in P9.

“I’ve had races where I’ve had victories taken away from me, but twice, I couldn’t believe it,” said Russell after the race.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening. I drove my heart out, I had the race under control, especially in the beginning, and then obviously the safety car came out, which was annoying.

“But I felt comfortable. I put some good overtakes, I was fired up, I was ready to chase Sergio to get the win back, and it would have been tight, but we would have done it.

“And then it went away from us again. So that’s racing.

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“If you’d told me at the start of this weekend I would have scored some points, I’d have said right, that’s going to be a pretty fantastic weekend!

“But if you’d told me I’d be leading the race, and then ended up… argh… I don’t know. It really hurt, honestly, it really bloody hurt when I got out of the car.

“I spoke to my parents straightaway. I know they were feeling it. They said you’ve got so much to be proud of. Same with Toto [Wolff] and James [Vowles] and Bono. We hugged it out.

“So hopefully I’ve given Toto some problems to sort out for the future.

“I’m happy. I’m proud,” concluded the young Briton.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff certainly does have things to sort out when it comes to the young Briton’s future with the team.

“If you’re in your first race in a Mercedes and you should have won it, driving a monumental race, there is not a lot you can say,” said the Austrian.

“This is where we are but it’s not going to be his last attempt to win a race. It’s just the beginning of a fairytale.

“It didn’t work out today but I would say a new star is born,” concluded Wolff.

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