Russell says he made a “statement” by overtaking Bottas at Sakhir GP

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

George Russell says overtaking Valtteri Bottas at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, after a tyre mix-up, was “a bigger statement” than if he’d won the race.

At the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, George Russell had his first opportunity to race for Mercedes. The opportunity came after Lewis Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 and had to miss a race.

George was on his way to win the race, when first a tyre mix-up in the Mercedes’ pit, and then a puncture, prevented him from finishing higher than P9.

However, while these issues took away a possible race win, George says they also provided him with an opportunity to make an even bigger impact.

“I effectively lost the victory through a puncture,” the Briton said.

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“But by having that puncture, it also gave me an opportunity to carve my way back through the field and overtake Valtteri [Bottas] again, which in a way was almost a bigger statement than it would have been had I just won the race and cleared off into the distance.

“I obviously finished that race incredibly disappointed and upset that I wasn’t standing on the top step of that podium.

“But probably within 24 hours, I thought that this is perhaps a blessing in disguise. I had such an opportunity to show what I was capable of.

“I think if I’d just gone out there and won that race, probably the respect wouldn’t have been there because it almost would have been too easy,” Russell concluded.

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