George Russell, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020

How Russell nearly avoided his race-losing pit stop – and the ‘smoking gun’ behind it

2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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George Russell was two seconds away from avoiding the pit stop which cost him victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver, in his first race substituting for Lewis Hamilton, had led virtually all night until he came in during a Safety Car period on lap 62. However Mercedes’ plan to pit him and second-placed team mate Valtteri Bottas consecutively backfired horrible.

Russell was sent out of the pits with two of his team mate’s tyres fitted to his car – a breach of the rules. Mercedes discovered this when Bottas slid into the pit box, and hastily re-fitted his old tyres so he could be sent on his way with minimal time loss. Russell was summoned straight back into the pits to have his correct tyres fitted.

After the race Mercedes swiftly identified the “smoking gun” – not a wheel gun, but their radio system – which they blamed for the error. It also became clear Russell had come incredibly close to avoiding his doomed pit visit altogether. Indeed, most cruelly, his own presence of mind may have worked against him.

By the end of the race Russell had pitted four times
There was an unfortunate coincidence behind the Safety Car period which set in play the sequence of events which wrecked Russell’s race. It was triggered when Jack Aitken, his replacement at Williams, spun into a barrier at the final corner.

A Virtual Safety Car period was initially declared so that Aitken’s lost front wing could be retrieved. However because the cars were circulating so closely together around the short, 3.5-kilometre Bahrain Outer circuit, race control realised there wouldn’t be enough time for a marshal to safely retrieve the wing. The exposure of marshals to risk has been of heightened concern following near-misses in recent races.

The Safety Car was therefore sent out to bunch the field up and give the marshals more time to collect the wing and sweep other debris clear from the racing line. This call came just as Russell came out of the final corner with the pit lane entrance already in sight.

Mercedes therefore had very little time to react. Russell prompted them, asking if he was “staying out”, but was told repeatedly to “box”. The timing was incredibly tight. He was told the Safety Car had been deployed five seconds before he reached the pit lane entry line, and his pit stop was confirmed with two seconds to spare.

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Russell and Bottas ran one-two before the pit stops
Russell, who has shown great awareness of the value of pitting under the Safety Car during his Williams days, visibly decreased his pace at this point, without which Mercedes might not have had enough time to call him in.

We saw further evidence of his presence of mind at Monza this year, when he was the only driver who spotted a signal indicating the pit lane entrance was closed without having first been warned about it by his team.

Mercedes committed a similar race-losing pit stop error on that occasion, as Hamilton failed to notice the same signal, and came into a closed pit lane. Yesterday Russell’s alertness to the opportunity to make a pit stop during a Safety Car period unfortunately cost him, and Mercedes had another mess on their hands:

To Russell VSC, VSC, keep the delta positive.
To Russell So we’ll have HPP default 35, three-five, on.
To Russell So you’re doing a good job on the delta.
To Russell Exiting last corner
Safety Car, Safety Car.
Russell Staying out?
To Russell Box box, box box.
To Russell He leaves pits
So keep the delta positive on exit.

As Russell entered the pits, confusion reigned at Mercedes. The FIA later investigated the team’s error in fitting the wrong tyres to Russell’s car, and confirmed the driver’s own radio message inadvertently contributed to it.

“Car 63 [Russell] was fitted with front tyres that were allocated to car 77 [Bottas]” they noted. “This was caused by a radio communications technical issue wherein the pit wall’s communication to the pit crew that car 63 was entering the pits prior to (and not after) car 77, failed to be received by the crew of car 63 because at the same time, the driver of car 63 transmitted over the top of that message.”

The instruction to the pit crew to prepare Russell’s tyres was given by the team’s sporting director Ron Meadows. Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin confirmed Meadows’ message to the team hadn’t been heard by the entire pit crew because of a delay in their radio system.

“We haven’t had enough time to get to get absolute and thorough understanding of what went on,” Shovlin explained yesterday evening, “but we have found a smoking gun.”

“That has to do with how the radio system prioritises messages when, for instance, Ron is calling out the crews and getting them to get the tyres ready for the two drivers.

“There were a number of broadcasts at that time on the radio system. The system knows to prioritise the messages coming from Ron because the most important thing is the tyres are there, more so than whatever a driver says or whatever someone else in the crew might say.

“But it looks like there is a period whereby the system is deciding to let the prioritised message through and we missed a key bit of the broadcast such that half of the tyre collectors didn’t get the message and it looks like half of them did.”

When Bottas came in, half his tyres were missing
Mercedes did not discover their error until Bottas arrived in the pit box a few seconds later. His crew reached for the front tyres from the medium compound set he was due to take, and realised they had already been fitted to Russell’s car.

Rather than waste time choosing and fitting another set, Mercedes opted to get Bottas back onto the track with minimum further delay. “We decided to re-fit the hard tyres that Valtteri had been on just to make sure we could get out of the box and go,” said Shovlin. Even so, he came out of the pits in fifth place.

But he was about to gain a position from Russell, who was now being told by Mercedes that he would have to make another pit stop.

To Russell OK George we’re going to have to box, box. We have a mixed tyre set on the car. We should be OK, so let’s just come into the pits again, we’ll change the tyres.
Russell I box yeah?
To Russell So box, box.
To Russell He leaves pits
So you are pushing down to the Safety Car line.
To Russell So you are pushing to catch the Safety Car.
Russell Is Valtteri ahead of us?
To Russell Affirm, Valtteri is ahead of us. He is still on the hard tyre, 14-lap-old hard tyre.
Russell Are we in P2 like this?
To Russell Currently P5. All cars ahead are on old tyres.
Russell Laps remaining?
To Russell Laps remaining 24, two-four.
To Russell So let’s have magic on. And we’ve just got a bit on front discs.
To Russell So we should have good pace with the new tyre set, all not lost.
Russell Struggling to cope with this disc.
To Russell It should come back, don’t stress about it too much.
Russell Who are the cars ahead?
To Russell So lapped cars are going to be overtaking so just stay on-line.
To Russell Lapped cars are coming past. The order is Perez P1, Ocon then Stroll, Valtteri and yourself.
Russell How old are their tyres?
To Russell Perez 17-lap-old hard, Ocon 23-lap hard, Stroll 22-lap medium, Valtteri 15-lap medium.
To Russell Correction, Valtteri 15-lap old hard tyre.
To Russell So this should be a big tyre advantage.
Russell I bloody hope so.

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Bottas was no more impressed than his new team mate about the developments which had turned Mercedes’ one-two into a four-five:

To Bottas After pit entry.
VSC, VSC, keep the delta positive. Target plus two. Don’t think it will last very long. Let me know if you ran over any debris.
Bottas I think we’re good.
To Bottas Copy, we’ll keep an eye on the pressures.
To Bottas So keep temperature in the tyres.
To Bottas Yellow in turn 10, 11.
To Bottas Two voices
Safety Car, Safety Car. Box box box. Keep delta positive. Gap to George 4.2. Gap to George five seconds.
To Bottas He enters the pit box.
We have plenty of time.
To Bottas He leaves the pit box.
Careful on the brakes.
Bottas What are these tyres?
To Bottas You are back on the hard tyres, the old tyres back on, so just pushing from exit to Safety Car line.
Bottas Say again which tyre set is this?
To Bottas So Valtteri I think we have hard tyres, the tyres you were on, you have them back on the car.
Bottas Why?
To Bottas We’ll discuss that later on.
Bottas What the fuck was that?
To Bottas So just staying out, staying out.
To Bottas So George is back in, there was a mix-up on the tyres. We lost some positions so we are pushing, push push to the exit.
To Bottas So now follow the delta again… now we don’t need to follow the delta any more, you’re good.
To Bottas So you got the position on George now, they stopped again. He’s on new mediums, we’re on hards. Perez current leader, Ocon P2, both on old hard tyres, 16 laps for Perez, 22 for Ocon, and then Stroll, 21-lap-old medium, then yourself, 14-lap hard.

“The pit crew didn’t do anything wrong,” stated Shovlin. “It’s simply that when you lose these messages, it highlights that the system falls down. That’s the thing that we need to just focus on, the root cause.”

Neither driver needed to pit a second time, Mercedes admitted
A further detail making the outcome even more painful for Mercedes was that neither driver actually needed to pit during the Safety Car period. However Shovlin said the team cannot dwell on hindsight.

“We could have gone to the end of the race,” he admitted. “And, in hindsight, you can say that if we’d stayed out, if we’d avoided the issue, that would have been brilliant.

“But as a racing team you can’t be afraid of doing a pit stop and you can’t be afraid of doing a pit stop under pressure. And we do hundreds of these in races under pressure, double stacked, all sorts of things. And they go well and the ability to do them under pressure is what often wins you races.

“So it’s one where you can sort of say, in a sense, the stop was a precaution just to make sure we had the best tyres on the grid. It would have consolidated the lead of the race if we’d been able to perform it well. And we need to make sure in understanding it, like any other fault, you focus on the root cause, not all the other noise and chaos around it.

“With hindsight, if you could wind it back, it would have been great, we could have won the race on the tyres that we were on. But we have to be able to do these stops.”

Shovlin believes this “root cause” – the radio system fault – has been present for years. It was sheer misfortune that it manifested itself yesterday, on Russell’s debut for the team, while he was leading the race.

“This is something that could have caught us out in any of the past three years. It could have caught us out at the first race next year. So it’s something that’s been there in the system and it was awfully unfortunate for the drivers and desperately unfortunate for George that we found that today.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was more blunt, calling the error a “colossal fuck-up”.

He has previously suggested Formula 1 could make coverage of the sport more entertaining by broadcasting the team’s internal pit wall discussions. Not for the first time this year he had reason to be grateful they don’t.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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2020 Sakhir Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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46 comments on “How Russell nearly avoided his race-losing pit stop – and the ‘smoking gun’ behind it”

  1. Things were going swell. Until they didn’t. I guess the team is used to operating so smoothly, they sometimes forget that unpredictable things can happen too. And it resulted in this mess.

    1. The problem with this vision on events is it totally misses the complete confusion of the pitcrews and the chaotic and dangerous behavior ( like a rolling tire at the left rear)
      And this

      so he could be sent on his way with minimal time loss.

      Valtteri was at the box for 27 seconds!!!
      You could refitted a new engine in that time … ( a bit hyperbole is acceptable ;)

      And again the almost panic calls for BOX.NOX,BOX etc..
      someone at the merc garage needs some valium.

  2. We saw how slow Bottas was on those used hard tyres whereas Perez was flying compared to everyone else, so you have to wonder how the two Mercedes would have performed against Perez.

    1. If they stayed in front of course.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        7th December 2020, 13:36

        @hunocsi It would have been easier to defend against a car on similar old hard tyres.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      7th December 2020, 14:32

      I think more people should be noting that Bottas drove through the pits incredibly slowly after already going slow behind the safety car, losing temperature, brakes on fire, tyres are off for quite some time rolling around the pitlane, then back on, then the race soon restarted. That will not have been ideal at all for his restart what soever. Once his tyres were back to the ideal temperature, his pace will have been decent again too. He lost positions at an understandable time, and those who got past him had a massive advantage.

      Things can’t go both ways. If Russell was truly outstanding this weekend, Bottas can’t have been terrible. Russel really was outstanding given his experience. But it was the case that in the 2nd stint that Bottas was catching and had mercedes not messed up or had this other safety car, it probably will have been 1 – 2 with Bottas possibly only just behind. His long run pace on friday as well as the race did look slightly better, but with no mistakes from Russell, an overtake will have been unlikely.

      1. I take your point, Ben ( @thegianthogweed ). But I don’t think it is quite as simple as:

        Things can’t go both ways. If Russell was truly outstanding this weekend, Bottas can’t have been terrible.

        I disagree mainly because this was George’s first weekend in the car, and Bottas’ 16th in this car and 4th year in Mercs overall. George was within 3 hundredths of a second of Bottas, and had a better start that Bottas from the dirty side of the track.

        I wouldn’t blame either driver for what happened after the SC pit stop debacle. But to that point, George had outclassed Valtteri. Even if the winning margin had been all but zero, coming in and beating the veteran on the team is a big deal. Valtreri needed to win and with some margin to keep critics quiet, and the result was not that at all.

  3. Thanks for a super detailed report so soon after the race. Hard to disagree with Toto Wolff’s summary of it all… we’ll be forever wondering how the hell the crew thought Bottas would be coming in first, and what Lewis would have done with a late call like that – surely staying out in the lead is better than having to follow cars in a Mercedes. We’ll never know, Checo is a winner and a classic bonkers Grand Prix is in the books, just as F1 was threatening to look predictable…

    1. @bullfrog I don’t believe Hamilton would have second guessed that call. If he is in the lead and stays out, while Bottas pits, then assuming no pitstop calamities the safety car period would resume with Hamilton in P1 on old hard tyres, with Bottas in P2 with fresh tyres. Hamilton has complained about this situation many times in the past either when it was too late to make the call for him to pit, or when his opposition is just bound to do whatever he doesn’t (Brazil 2019 with Verstappen for instance). In a normal situation, choosing to stay out would have lost him the race. It’s only in hindsight that it looks like the wrong call.

      Turkey was a different situation since there was no safety car and he had a big lead. The tyre performance had been all over the place all weekend and it wasn’t clear how fresh inters would perform on the drying track. In that case, Hamilton did overrule the call for a ‘safety stop’ because he was happy with the known quantity of the tyres he had on, confident they would make it to the end of the race, and knew there would be no cars close enough to him to be a threat even if their tyres were in better shape than his.

      1. ” If he is in the lead and stays out, while Bottas pits, then assuming no pitstop calamities the safety car period would resume with Hamilton in P1 on old hard tyres, with Bottas in P2 with fresh tyres. ”

        That very thing happened in Bahrain 2014 against Rosberg.

      2. I agree. Had Hamilton been in russell’s position, I think he would have prefered to stay out.

        That radio responce by Russell all but made the point.

        Russell, was like – “Stay out? Where he might have asked “Come in?”
        reading between the lines he wanted to stay out.

        This is the difference between a driver like hamilton questioning his race engineer, and most other drivers who lack the confidence to make that call for themselves.

        1. If Russell hadn’t pit it would have been an easy win. For Bottas.
          Merc had his tyres ready, the stop would have been fine.

  4. Wait, Bottas’ tyres were fresher than Perez’s, 8 newer than Ocon’s and 7 laps newer than the mediums on Stroll?! What possible excuse does he have for dropping down the order so rapidly after the safety car!!

    1. I was wondering this too, I guess maybe they lost temperature at the pit stop and he couldn’t get them back in the zone

    2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      7th December 2020, 13:40

      @yossarian @hunocsii reason being Bottas’ old hards were had been taken off during the pit stop and kept on the ground because of which they lost their temperature. Eventually the same cold tyre set went back on. By the time they got back into their working range, he was in P8.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      7th December 2020, 13:41

      @yossarian He was overtaken by the cars behind him which were on fresher (and faster compound) tyres?

      Stroll was also almost overtaken, but he barely kept his car ahead of Sainz.

      1. Yes @f1osaurus, but stay ahead of him he did. And he managed despite the disadvantages of having older medium tyres, a Racing Point that in qualifying was 0.4s a lap slower than Mercedes and being Lance Stroll!

        I can sort of see the argument for the tyres getting much colder than usual due to the pit stop @asleepatthewheel, but there was a fair number of laps behind the safety car so I can’t see them being that much colder than the front 3 by the time racing got going again.

    4. IMO that was clearly Toto’s move to secure Lawrence funding and his commitment.
      I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Lewis stayed home the last weekend, and Mercedes gave its points to his B team (George you have a puncture!)
      That was the tyregate…

  5. On the Bottas onboard, he just could not believe it.
    He’s in the queue, mechanics remove tyres, fit mediums, fit hards, he’s back out and the crew tell him he pitted to fit the same tyres he was on.
    At this very moment, Bottas may have thought about « sabotage » for a milli-second.

    1. He probably thought of the Hockenheim Curse.

    2. Teams just dont make that kind of mistake, leaves to seriously consider the only other thing that Mercedes has to play for. They’ve won the Constructors, the driver Championship, leaving the only other title goin – the unofficial Manufactures. One poster refered to the Pink Mercedes benifiting from this muddle, and you know what, i have to wonder.

  6. “But as a racing team you can’t be afraid of doing a pit stop and you can’t be afraid of doing a pit stop under pressure. And we do hundreds of these in races under pressure, double stacked, all sorts of things.”

    So, just a crude estimate:. 1.5 stops per race, 17 races, two cars. 51 stops then.

    Three massive failures this season. (Monza, 2 x Bahrain).

    So about a 6% chance the stop will cause serious problem. Hopefully James Bowles (Mercs chief strategist) understands this better than it is expressed here.

    Tough call this one. I would say they need to consider confusion too. They had a decent advantage. Especially with two cars out front. I think my first choice would have been to not do anything in haste.

    1. Karl Fuss (@)
      7th December 2020, 15:27

      They could eliminate some of the confusion by choosing a grid box further down the pit lane…. but that also has it’s disadvantages. You could argue that were Mercedes in the last box rather than the first box the team wouldn’t have to rush to grab tyres and get set for the stop, they would have 10 or more seconds extra time to get ready for the pending stop and could double check the tyre sets and which car was coming in.

      They took a chance on pitting when they did, it’s always a risk to make a pit stop and they know that. It’s just that most times it works out for them. This time it didn’t.

      1. @niblips I don’t think you can choose your garage, it’s just allocated by championship position the previous year. There are advantages and disadvantages to either being at the start of the pit lane or the end, notably with some circuits being able to drive straight into the box if you’re defending champions, having more time and less likelihood of an unsafe release if you’re Williams.

        1. Karl Fuss (@)
          7th December 2020, 18:24

          Ah, I was always under the impression that grid boxes were a choice based on Championship standing of the previous year. I wonder where in the regulations that is…. I’ll have a look.

        2. @bernasaurus the Sporting Regulations state that it is the FIA who is responsible for allocating the pit garages, but the order is entirely at the discretion of the FIA. The FIA generally allocates the pit garages in WCC order by custom, but there have been times when the FIA has changed the garage allocations.

          In the 2011 British GP, the FIA originally allocated pit boxes to Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren that were near the start of the pit lane – however, that then meant those pit boxes were not visible from the grandstands on the start-finish straight, which resulted in some complaints from those in the grandstands.

          That meant that, in the 2012 British GP, the FIA moved those three teams into the middle of the pit lane to make it easier for those in the grandstands to see them, with the other teams then rearranged around them.

          The teams can submit a preference to the FIA for the garages they want, and that has also seen some other changes being made as well.

          At the 2017 Canadian GP, the Renault team were originally allocated a group of garages where one garage was split from the others by a dividing wall. Because Renault wanted to have their garages linked together, whereas Sauber did not particularly mind having split garages, Renault asked the FIA if they could switch places with Sauber, with the FIA agreeing to that move.

          Now, the convention seems to be that the FIA will allow the WCC winning team from the previous year to express a preference for whether they are at the beginning or end of the pit lane, and will then order the teams in WCC once they’ve made a choice – however, that process is at the discretion of the FIA and the FIA does sometimes allocate the pit garages without input from the teams.

  7. If Russell did not pit and only Bottas did which seemed to be the situation the pit crews were expecting, wouldn’t Bottas have just cruised past Russell on fresh tyres?

    If they both did not pit then they may have had a tyre disadvantage but could have maybe held on to 1-2 once racing resumed, but we did see Sainz chase down and pass Bottas due to tyre advantage.

    Maybe the best scenario was to do another lap and box once everyone has enough time to understand what was going on.

    I think this has been mentioned before but why is boxing under VSC-SC allowed? I know in the past it wasn’t. But I suppose no matter which way you look at it someone will probably loose out due to SC.

    1. Karl Fuss (@)
      7th December 2020, 15:20

      Doing another lap before boxing under the SC should have bunched the pack up and made the Mercs more vulnerable to losing spots on track while in the pit.

      It’s always more advantages to box under SC if you have a comfortable gap to the car behind. The advantage of new tyres compared to old outweighs the track position for the Mercs because they are the fastest car and making overtakes on track if needed is doable.

      Boxing under SC or VSC adds to the excitement of race and offers strategy advantages. To eliminate pitting under SC would be a mistake.

    2. @f-duct

      If Russell did not pit and only Bottas did which seemed to be the situation the pit crews were expecting, wouldn’t Bottas have just cruised past Russell on fresh tyres?

      Given the delta times F1 cars have to stick to during the beginning of a Safety Car period, I believe Russell would have done a lap at reduced speed, then pitted and still come out ahead of Bottas.

      1. Only if he had made it past the safety car before it came out of the pits though. It must have been nip and tuck.
        If it had rejoined just ahead of Russell, it would just have been a replication of what happened last Sunday. He had to follow it around a whole lap, the pack caught up and a lot of places were lost (in this cenario including the crucial one to Bottas) when he finally pitted.

  8. The irony was the VSC / SC was caused by Aiken spinning in Russell’s (regular) car.

  9. 3 guys on each wheel. 12 people didn’t notice they had the wrong tires? lol. Um.. no.

    1. This. It seems odd to blame the radio when several people are handling the tires directly. There were so many people able to take “ownership” of the tire fitting but none of them did until Russell dropped off the jacks and left? In fact, it seems the only one with his head on straight was the front left guy on Bottas’ car who looked at the tire and seemed to freeze for a moment in shock.

      1. Exactly, @dmw.

        If only there was some sort of human written language with simple markings that could be applied to the tyres and taught to pit crews. But oral tradition in F1 overrules reading and writing. And often… thinking.

    2. They did, just too late. What’s the conspiracy here? To ruin a 1-2 finish and make yourselves look like utter clowns again in a rushed pitstop?

      1. Horner didn’t notice it either. There was nothing on the track to pay attention to, cause both cars were right there. Neither race engineers noticed it either. There were 30+ people in the garage, and they didn’t notice it either. Those tire guys didn’t see the tires from a long distance TV camera, they had them inches from their face in much higher def than we saw them. I’m pretty sure they know if a tire is new, used, grained, whatever, just by looking at them. They can probably tell by the feel too. Of course it’s possible they made such a huge mistake, but it is not very probable. Any word on what caused Russell’s puncture?

        1. Oops, Wolff didn’t notice.

  10. Shows why Hamilton often chooses to stay out rather than risk a pit stop.

  11. Roberto Giacometti
    7th December 2020, 20:50

    Hmmmmm, i smell a rat!
    As per usual when mercedes is involved , very subtle skullduggery.
    Not only do they engineer the car well, but also the race result too.
    Much better and easier to manage the story to have the new boy come “ oh so close to that fairy tale win” than to actually win the race and then have to manage the huge media uproar of “ put this guy in the car “ instead of bottas or the other driver!!
    Do not trust m-benz one little bit , for all their supposed corporate “squeaky clean image” – far from it !!!

    1. If George hadn’t decided to visibly slow before pit lane entry he would have not had time to pit when called. So for your ‘rat’ to work George would have had to be in on the deal.

      Can’t help think if that had been Hamilton in that car and he had decided to visibly slow, a lot more posters would be placing some of the blame on his shoulders for the screw up. George, not so much.

  12. You know this is the perfect case of technology being too smart causing a mix up.

    It would be so easy to have an alarm go off in the garage to get the pit crew to look at a lot board to tell them who’s putting and what tyres to put on.

    Sometimes the old systems worked the best.

  13. You know this is the perfect case of technology being too smart causing a mix up.

    It would be so easy to have an alarm go off in the garage to get the pit crew to look at a lit board to tell them who’s pitting and what tyres to put on.

    Sometimes the old systems worked the best.

  14. So it’s something that’s been there in the system and it was awfully unfortunate for the drivers and desperately unfortunate for George that we found that today.

    Desperately unfortunate for George, but awfully fortunate for their B team, and if there’s one thing Racing Point have a lot of it’s fortune.

    What a convenient time for them to win a race under such circumstances after Mercedes have all wrapped up the championship.

    1. Bit inconvenient and embarrassing that it’s the guy they dumped that won though…..particularly with his superb recovery drive.

  15. NeverElectric
    7th December 2020, 23:45

    For those that think this is “oh so cruel” and “so heatbreaking” – how about a bit of perspective, eh? Imagine, then, how much crueller it would be if a rookie driver came into F1, was paired with the double defending F1 world champion on the same team and in the same car, the rookie has beaten the world champion so far and is leading the championship – despite the world champion trying all manner of dirty tricks – and, in the penultimate race, the rookie is leading the race and needs just third place to win the world title, and then his team leave him out too long, his tyres are gone, as he tries to put, he slides into the gravel and the world championship is gone.
    That, then, is real heartbreak.
    For those saying Russell was new to the car – hasn’t he been testing for Mercedes (2019)? He will have been familiar with most of the car in general.
    It is a shame that he didn’t win, but to lament this as if it is the greatest tragedy to ever hit F1 is to be intellectually dishonest.
    Russell will be back, he will win races in another team – Williams appears to be dead as the proverbial dodo – and he might even win the world championship one day.
    Move on.

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