Russell admits “one too many mistakes at key moments” cost him shot at victory in F1 Canadian GP

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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George Russell came across the line in Canada to earn his and Mercedes’ first Grand Prix podium of the season, finishing in a respectable third position.

Despite this, he could not convert the pole position he had earnt the day before, beating championship leader Max Verstappen to P1 despite both having achieved the exact same time; Russell started on pole as he set the time first.

Starting on pole, the 26-year-old led the field into turn 1, which put him in a controlling position, as the heavy rain early on meant all 19 other drivers behind would be dealing with the spray coming from the car in front.

This gave him a comfortable gap when it was still raining. However, when it started to dry up, he would eventually lose the lead as the charging McLaren of Lando Norris sailed around the outside going into the final chicane on lap 21.

In his attempt to defend his position, Russell found himself making a mistake, skipping over the chicane as he veered off the dry line. This allowed the Red Bull of Verstappen to fly past, as the Mercedes driver struggled to rejoin the track with a lack of grip.

Having got back past Norris due to a ill timed safety car, his next costly mistake came fighting Norris for P2 after everyone had pitted for dry tyres.

Russell passed Norris on lap 49 as the McLaren driver struggled to get his medium tyres up to temperature.

It only lasted for a matter of two laps for the Mercedes man as he went deep into turn nine, finding himself on the kerbs and back down into third as Norris breezed past on corner exit.

“But as Max said, it was such a tricky race out there for everybody. You put a millimetre wide and you’re off.

“And I think for me, it was just one too many mistakes at key moments that costed a shot of fighting with these two towards the end of the race.”

Mercedes then took the risk of losing track position by pitting Russell onto the medium tyre under the last safety car, going down to P4 and behind the second McLaren of Piastri. A strategic move Russell believes may not have been necessary in hindsight.

“I was pushing to pit because I thought the new medium would have been really competitive at the end. I need to look at it because, to be honest, in hindsight, I think we had really great pace.”

“Were you two [Verstappen & Norris] on the medium? Yeah, those guys were on the medium.”

“And me being on the hard, I think we’d have probably been in a really strong position to fight.”

It would be a move that looked costly with only a few laps to go as in his attempt to get past Piastri, he would find himself having to cut the chicane for the second time as the Australian held firm on the inside, the two making a small bit of contact.

This also allowed his teammate Lewis Hamilton past, and once both Mercedes cars had cleared Piastri it would be a straight battle for the last spot on the podium.

A battle that would be won by Russell, as with two laps to go he ducked to the inside, taking the final place on the rostrum from the grasps of his teammate with a quality pass into the last chicane.

“And always with Lewis, it’s really hard and fair.

“When you’re racing with one of the greats, you know that you can trust them. And that was really great to see at the end.”