Mercedes driver George Russell says that his team got their weather calls wrong in the Dutch Grand Prix after he dropped from third on the grid to finish last.Max Verstappen and Lando Norris on the grid but gambled on staying out when the rain fell on the opening lap.
As many of his rivals pitted for intermediates, Russell remained on the wet track on his slicks until eventually pitting at the end of lap three. He fell from fourth at the end of the opening lap to 14th place as a result, directly behind team mate Lewis Hamilton who had started from 13th on the grid.
“The race was over before it really got started,” Russell said in response to a question from RaceFans. “The information we had regarding the weather was totally wrong. So that was a real shame. A podium was missed.
“As a team we need to review because we’re getting the information coming in to us and it was misjudged, the weather. So, it’s not anything to do with racing or engineering, it was clearly just a weather misinterpretation and that ruined our afternoon. So, we really need to look into what happened, why the others decided to pit, what information they maybe had that we didn’t and make sure we don’t make the same mistake again.”
Russell explained that Mercedes expected the initial shower was only going to be brief, which is why they chose to risk staying out on slicks.
“They told me it was going to be two minutes and I could manage for two minutes in those conditions,” he said. “But it just got heavier and heavier and it lasted for 10 minutes. So it’s a joint effort, it was a real shame, to be honest, that it happened this way. But, live and learn.”
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After the track dried, Russell almost lost control of his car at turn seven while team mate Hamilton ran directly behind him.
“I had contact with Tsunoda earlier in the race about five laps before and I had massive vibrations and in high speed I was struggling to see,” he explained. “I looked a little in my mirror and next thing I was off the track. But I’m glad to have kept it out of the wall.”
Russell says his vibration did not affect him for the majority of the race, but still believes it may have cost him an opportunity to fight for a podium with Pierre Gasly.
“It lasted for about five laps, so I lost probably three or four seconds of race time,” he said. “So that was a shame because probably could have stayed ahead of Lewis, Lando [Norris] – Gasly, I think it was, who came out the pits. So, seeing where Gasly ended up it could have been a very different story.”
After the late red flag, Russell restarted in eighth place behind Norris. However, the pair made minor contact at turn 11 on the first restart lap which resulted in a puncture, forcing him to pit which dropped him to the very back of the field.
“We made a good recovery and then just the contact with Lando [was] an unfortunate racing incident causing the puncture,” Russell said. “So, disappointing but good that we had a fast race car.”
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