Russell explains why he received upgraded component over Hamilton

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

George Russell says Lewis Hamilton declined a “coin toss” and was “happy” to let him use Mercedes’ upgraded front wing at Monaco, and adds he “thought it was a belated birthday present he gave me”.

After the Monaco Grand Prix Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton revealed that Mercedes only brought one upgraded component to the track – a new front wing – and fitted it to George Russell’s car.

This caused some fans to speculate that Mercedes is favouring Russell over Hamilton, especially in light of Lewis’ departure at the end of the year.

However, soon reported that both drivers were offered the part, and Lewis chose not to have it.

Now, George explains what exactly happened.

“There was one front wing this weekend and it was agreed on Tuesday that we’d do a coin toss and see who got it,” Russell said.

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“Lewis said he’d tried it on the sim and was happy for me to use it this weekend, because it doesn’t go without risk.

“If we made a mistake in qualifying and damaged it, obviously that’s one front wing that we won’t ever be able to use again and you’d have to start from the pit lane.

“I was happy to take that risk using it and I thought it was a belated birthday present he gave me, saying I could use it.”

Asked whether the coin toss happened at any point, George said:

“No, we didn’t do the coin toss.”

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