George Russell, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2024

Russell swore at Wolff because ‘I almost crashed when he screamed in my ear’

Formula 1

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George Russell admitted he was shocked when Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff shouted at him on the radio during the Austrian Grand Prix.

Wolff came on the radio to tell Russell he was in position to win the race after Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collided while battling over the lead.

Russell’s race engineer Marcus Dudley told him Verstappen had suffered a puncture in the collision. As it emerged Norris had also incurred damage, Wolff called out: “George, you can win this. You can win this, George.”

Wolff sent his message as Russell was heading into the high-speed braking zone at turn three. Race engineers ordinarily avoid talking to their drivers at these critical points on the lap, and an alarmed Russell told his team boss: “Let me fucking drive.”

Russell said he was surprised by the unexpected message as he was running third and trying to stay ahead of Carlos Sainz Jnr and Oscar Piastri.

“I knew Oscar was going to be quick, and he sort of came a little bit out of nowhere towards the end of the race on those hard tyres. For me it was pretty difficult.

“Then suddenly I had Toto screaming in my ear, ‘you can win this’. And I almost crashed when he screamed into my ears. It was that loud.”

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However Russell said he appreciated Wolff’s eagerness for the team to score its first win since the penultimate victory of 2022.

“I think it just goes to show the passion that we all share,” he said. “And it’s obviously been a tough couple of years for us. It feels great to be back on the top step.”

Although it took a slice of luck for Russell to score his first win since Interlagos in 2022, Russell was happy to take it.

“It’s racing. Sometimes it goes against you and I feel like we’ve probably missed out on one or two possibilities of victories.

Montreal was one, arguably Singapore [2023], things could have gone very slightly differently last year, and today it went for us. So it’s how the cookie crumbles.”

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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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15 comments on “Russell swore at Wolff because ‘I almost crashed when he screamed in my ear’”

  1. Would have been fun if Toto actually had caused him to crash. The could have used some drama.

    1. Roy Beedrill
      30th June 2024, 23:38

      Crazy to think, but even in this case, with four drivers removed from the front (don’t forget Leclerc at the start), Perez still wouldn’t be anywhere near the podium.

    2. If anyone could crash from a loud radio message, it’s George. But IDK what Toto was thinking, especially since he had a healthy lead and didn’t need encouragement.

    3. Sergey Martyn
      1st July 2024, 9:39

      That would be very epic!

  2. George taking a page out of Kimi’s script.

    1. Aha, true, reminds of his answer now I think of it!

  3. Good drive by George. Still think he would look better in Orange though.

  4. So a penalty for toto thrn. Fia seems to like new rules..

  5. Haha, remove Wolff’s headset privileges, that was quite embarassing that he felt the need to come on the radio like that.

    Love the passion from both of them either way though.

  6. I was thinking the same thing lol

  7. Toto needn’t have worried, I can’t imagine Russell crashing on his own during the closing laps of a race.

    1. Yeah he had no threat from behind. Just needed to bring the car home. Even Logan Sergeant could probably have managed that from that position.

      1. He only had a couple seconds margin in the end, that’s not enough, sargeant would be under pressure before the end of the race, as in with piastri right behind.

      2. Sargeant couldn’t manage it in Abu Dhabi 2021 with nobody behind him…

  8. Sergey Martyn
    1st July 2024, 9:41

    Knee-jerk Toto

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