George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Hamilton thought Russell was giving him a tow when Mercedes pair collided

2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have been summoned to the stewards after the Mercedes team mates collided on the straight during today’s qualifying session.

Russell’s driving in the incident is the focus of the stewards’ investigation. They are considering whether he “abnormally changed direction directly causing impact with” Hamilton in the incident which took place during Q2.

Hamilton drew alongside Russell on the left-hand side of his team mate on the main straight. Russell moved towards him, causing contact which damaged Hamilton’s front wing. Despite the impact, Hamilton gained a place in Q3 while Russell was eliminated.

Following the incident Russell complained on his radio that the team had warned him of Carlos Sainz Jnr nearby in the Ferrari but he hadn’t been away of another car nearby.

Hamilton said he was expecting his team mate to pit when he caught him before the lap, and was surprised he kept going.

“We were sent out at much different times,” Hamilton said in response to a question from RaceFans. “I was being given my time when I was on my out-lap.

“Everyone is starting [their laps] from turn 12. When I came out of turn 12 there was no one ahead so I got on the gas, I started to pick up the pace. I came around 13 and George looked like he was going into the pit lane. So I kept it going and then suddenly he cut back across, which was obviously a bit confusing. Because I didn’t even know he was [ahead], I think he had bailed out his first lap or something like that.”

When the pair arrived on the pit straight Hamilton assumed Russell was trying to help by giving him a slipstream on the straight, before they collided.

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“So then I was towing him and just in case he was giving me a tow, and he started to move to the right, so I was like ‘ah, he is giving me a tow’. So I went to the left and he started coming back across. So just a misunderstanding.”

Russell said the collision was “just a massive miscommunication.” The Mercedes cars were on different plans: Russell was doing an out-lap plus a lap to build temperatures before his flying run, while Hamilton was going straight into a timed lap.

“I was just looking ahead, trying to get a slipstream from from Carlos and next thing Lewis was there,” he said. “So we need to talk internally how that happened because between two team mates that should never happen.

“But nothing was either one’s fault. I think Lewis probably just didn’t know that I was starting on lap two.”

Russell is under investigation for potentially breaking article 2b of Chapter IV of Appendix L of the FIA International Sporting Code which states:

“Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be carried out on either the right or the left. A driver may not leave the track without justifiable reason. More than one change of direction to defend a position is not permitted. Any driver moving back towards the racing line, having earlier defended his position off-line, should leave at least one car width between his own car and the edge of the track on the approach to the corner.

“However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards.”

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2023 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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16 comments on “Hamilton thought Russell was giving him a tow when Mercedes pair collided”

  1. Russell should get a grid penalty for clearly causing a collision & impeding by lacking spacial awareness.

  2. We could see them crossing the line pretty close to each other but the broadcast didn’t follow it.

    I don’t understand why Hamilton was so close to the car ahead if both were on quick laps. He should have let Russell open a gap, but for whatever reason he didn’t.

    1. It’s Russell who slowed, not Hamilton who didn’t leave a gap. Also on the replay you see Russell move right and then as Hamilton approaches, he moves back to the left. Thats not a move you do in racing, let alone in qualifying.

    2. Did you even read the article? :-)

      1. i’m talking about what i could see on TV.

        A clear miscommunication. Why should Russell got to the pits like Hamilton was expecting him to if he was at risk of being knocked out?

        1. Hamilton would have expected Russel to be pitting based on Russels position on the track, he was over to the right side right in front of the pit entry, he then jumps back over to the left side, the racing line, when the Ferrari goes by, not realising how close Hamilton was behind, about to start his own hotlap.

        2. Emma’s point is that the article explains what Hamilton assumed was happening. Either way, Russell should have checked in his mirrors before moving left. I think it’s a clear penalty ever if it was just miscommunication.

  3. Yes, after Bowling Bottas we now clearly have Ramming Russell, who keeps punting into other cars (recently Baku, Monaco and today in Barcelona). The guy seems to miss spatial awareness…

    1. Bowling Bottas, eh? Just one incident on a slippery track in Hungary. Now, guys talk about it like he had several incidences…

      1. Note while simultaneously forgetting all the crashes certain other drivers have had that they were to blame for or just outright dirty driving. Its the sort of petty childish comments you hope are coming from teenagers.

  4. It had the perfect ingredients for a WWE showdown and then there was a couple of “sorrys” and that’s it.
    Still a perfect clip for drive to survive.

  5. The incident didn’t start on the start finish straight. it started the corner before. Russell allowed the Ferrari past and then cut right in front of Hamilton who was going at the same pace as the Ferrari. I even thought the driver (Russell), whom I couldn’t really tell who it was then was going to get a penalty for impeding. When I found out they were team mates, I then thought okay its a tow. It is neither drivers fault. This one is right on the team. Even if Russell had made a mistake earlier and was running out of synch the team should know where both drivers are on track and what each is doing.

  6. Not buying it. RUS was happily following the Ferrari and then saw that HAM was going to pass both cars to get in position for a lap. RUS closed the door on that. I don’t see both drivers continuing with Mercedes next year. The car isn’t good and whatever is going on internally at Mercedes is preventing any real improvements to the car. I think at least one team moves ahead of Mercedes next year in the fight for 4th.

    1. @jimfromus I think you missed something since that’s not at all what happened. Go back and try again? Try watching the onboards for both, to include the corners before the start/finish straight.

  7. I didn’t expect Russel to admit he was wrong. Of course, in his view the guilt is mutual… These things happen, but he’s not a child anymore, he should learn already to say “I’m sorry, my fault” and it won’t cost him much. He’d earn some respect… I don’t know if he’s his parents’ only child, but he does act the stereotype.

  8. This kind of thing happens when you believe that the rest of the world exists just to give you a tow

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