Ricciardo would have passed me if the race had lasted another lap – Russell

Formula 1

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George Russell doubts he would have held on to sixth place if the Mexican Grand Prix had lasted another lap.

The Mercedes driver came under fierce pressure from Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the race. He took the chequered flag just half a second ahead of the AlphaTauri driver having resisted a final lap attack at turn four.

“For sure one more lap he would have done it,” said Russell. “He’s had a really great weekend, really happy to see him performing well and he deserves it.”

Russell said he began to struggle with his tyres at the end of the race after he had to back off to protect his brakes while fighting for position with Carlos Sainz Jnr. That allowed Lando Norris to overtake him and gave Ricciardo the chance to strike.

“The race dictated our tyres,” said Russell. “Once again the car felt really strong, right behind Carlos, just couldn’t quite make the overtake.

“But we had to back off because my brakes were overheating, as they were for many drivers. As soon as I backed off, I totally lost all the temperature in my tyres and I could never recover it. It was like driving on ice for the last 15 laps, and a pretty miserable feeling and very lucky to finish P6.”

“It’s never fun when you’re the defending driver on the back foot,” he added. “Again, I was just really struggling throughout that race with the tyres. It was pretty clear as soon as I backed off, I lost all the grip and I couldn’t recover it.

“I’m not sort of too concerned because I know the reason for it. But it’s been two race weekends in a row for two different reasons, last week was the fuel and I lost the tyres because I backed off to manage the fuel, this weekend it was the brakes and that’s at least some clarity.”

Although Russell complained about Sainz’s defensive driving on his radio during the race, he said afterwards he did not believe his rival had overstepped the mark.

“The rules are pretty clear,” said Russell. “It wasn’t aggressive or substantial movement, but once he’d braked he was moving to sort of cover me and when you brake from such high speeds it’s very easy to lock up. But no concerns with that one.”

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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...

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9 comments on “Ricciardo would have passed me if the race had lasted another lap – Russell”

  1. I didn’t see cold tyres coming! And brought on by brakes, then not able to rebuild, with the track at 47 degrees still I think?

    I suppose in a weird way it fits with Lewis doing fastest lap on those tyres right at the end! James Allison effect…

    1. @zann I think it’s hard to generate temperature in the tyres once they are worn to a certain degree, and Mexico isn’t a track that stresses the tyres much since it has a lot of low speed corners. But, it’s maybe something that could have been managed by the driver, by say doing more lift and coast to cool the brakes, but still pushing a bit more in the corners to keep the core tyre temperatures within their working range.

      1. They were going on all weekend about the tyres overheating. But yes what could George have done, is the question isn’t it, they can have the temperatures on the steering wheel, wish they’d show us too. Did George and all the actual F1 engineers not think of pushing in the corners? Gosh!! But I think what happens is the cool surface slips and that doesn’t load up the sidewalls enough

        But let’s see, I think this is James, and actually quite significant

      2. Keith, something I noticed with Hamilton was that he was running to the side of LeClerc on a lot of the straights rather than sitting in the slipstream, presumably to get some cool air into the brake and engine ducts.

      3. You want cold tires? Vegas, where the race will be run at about midnight local time, might be as cool as 50° F, 10° C. It will be interesting…..

  2. Or if he’d caught up a lap sooner.

    1. I suspect what was happening was that the surface of the tyre was quite worn by following Sainz for so long and overheating his brakes such that the core could not retain temperature anymore.
      In plain English, the tyres were worn.

  3. If there is something worse than a whining driver, it is a snitching driver.
    Seriously, can you imagine Moss or Clark or Fangio saying: “The guy ahead is weaving”, or “the guy ahead just went off the line”-
    Ok, they had no radio, but still

    1. Too be honest they had other problems to coop with like staying alive …

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