George Russell, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023

Russell’s memory of British GP retirement led to Canada crash recovery

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

George Russell says he raced on despite heavy contact with a wall in Canada because he learned from his retirement at last year’s British Grand Prix.

On lap 12 the Mercedes driver hit the sausage kerb at the apex of turn nine which caused the rear of his car to skid into the barrier. It damaged his rear-right tyre, but Russell returned to the pit lane for a new set.

He said afterwards he remembered not to stop the car as he did after a collision on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix last year. Russell got out of his car to check on Zhou Guanyu, who skidded upside-down at high speed into the barrier, and was unable to rejoin the race after returning to his car.

Russell admitted he “was quite surprised that we managed to continue” after he hit the wall. “I was very close to pulling up.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, and Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Canadian Grand Prix in pictures
“I learnt from Silverstone not to just stop too early. For sure it’s a difficult pill to swallow but that’s how the sport should be, one small mistake and you should be punished for it.”

“I just went a bit wide into turn eight,” Russell added. “I knew I was going to hit the kerb, but I wasn’t expecting the sausage kerb to have such a violent response and next thing I’m in the air when I landed, lost the rear and I was in the wall.

“So it all happened really quite suddenly. Sorry to the team, for sure there was P3, P4 on the cards for us both.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

He fell from fourth to last after pitting for repairs. Although he was able to recover into the points places, Russell was later forced into retirement by a braking problem. He suspects he encountered more problems with brake cooling because he was running further down the order than the team expected before the race began.

“We could have finished in P8 but we were in a lot of traffic,” he said. “Obviously we weren’t expecting to be in that position. I’m pretty sure it was just because I was in so much traffic we weren’t planning to be, and the brakes weren’t in the right spot for that.”

Despite the incident Russell was upbeat about his car’s performance in the third race since the team brought an extensive update for it. In Bahrain Mercedes finished no higher than fifth, but a change in car design has led to podium finishes over the past two races.

“I think going from Barcelona to here, two quite contrasting circuits, bodes well for the future,” said Russell. “But of course, as a team we’re looking for more than just second best. We need to close that gap to Red Bull, but definitely shows we’re on the right path.”

Russell has now dropped to sixth in the drivers’ championship, two behind Hamilton, with Mercedes second in the constructors’ standings.

Become a RaceFans Supporter

RaceFans is run thanks in part to the generous support of its readers. By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the same in whichever currency you use) you can help cover the costs of creating, hosting and developing RaceFans today and in the future.

Become a RaceFans Supporter today and browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 F1 season

Browse all 2023 F1 season articles

Author information

Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

9 comments on “Russell’s memory of British GP retirement led to Canada crash recovery”

  1. Any chance he’ll learn not to dump his car into the wall during his leisurely Sunday drive?

    1. I doubt it. Russell has yet to learn the lesson of Risk vs Rewards. It is that assessment which leads to consistency, which leads to champions.

      I doubt Bottas would have made that mistake, he would have secured the championship points.

  2. Good he learnt from silverstone, that was bad judgement of the situation.

    Honestly I thought the suspension was done after the impact and russell also said something like “sorry, I’m out”; I was surprised they managed to fix it and send him back.

    Shame for the final problem, although I was expecting him to pass albon before that.

    1. Obviously he’d have been easily 4th without the mistake, so this looks pretty bad on perez: 6th is already not great with that car and starting position, let alone 7th speed wise and being unable to reach the ferraris all race.

      1. Good point.

      2. wrt Perez I think the RB might be on top, but is not that good. It is just the combination of the car with Max which makes it stand out. On top of that I feel Perez is overrated. He was meant to retire quite some time ago but luck/circumstances kept him in a car. I see him amongst the likes of Magnussen, Tsunoda, Hulkenberg, Stroll, Zhou, Albon. He is behind on Bottas, Sainz, Gasly, Ocon. I would not keep him in that car for another race. It will costs them the WCC.

  3. He wrecked the car so badly he couldn’t finish? How is that a recovery?

    1. Not sure whether the final problem was related but overall a poor performance from (accident prone) George. I think he can still have some benefit of the doubt as all greats had their rough period with a lot of incidents, but by the end of 2023 he should be the whole package, otherwise Mercedes should part with him since he will become a Berger, Irvine, Massa, Barrichello at best if he doesn’t resolve the sharp edges.

  4. playstation361
    25th June 2023, 1:09

    It looked like it was a very small issue. Mercedes was way ahead in all the areas and things got mismatched and Russell got into the pit lane. Mercedes were in the forefront other than the leaders. I highly doubt AM and Ferrari has true speed.

Comments are closed.