Russell rescues P4 after turn 1 collision with teammate Hamilton in F1 Qatar GP

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Photo Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

Starting on the front row alongside Max Verstappen, George Russell was right to go into Sunday’s Grand Prix at the Local circuit with thoughts of a podium being well within reach.

Unfortunately for the Mercedes team however, after a lightning start from Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton behind them on the soft tyre, all three drivers went into turn one side-by-side. As we have so often seen, three into one does not go and Hamilton – who was by now slightly ahead of his teammate – collided with Russell who had nowhere to go with Verstappen’s Red Bull to his right. This sent both Mercedes’ off the track with Hamilton losing a rear tyre and as a result out of the race.

Russell was forgiving of his teammate post-race, saying “these cars are so difficult to see when you’re racing, there’s big blind spots…we have so much respect for each other I’m sure we’ll speak and I’m sure we’ll get past this.”

Hamilton to his credit admitted fault prior to the end of the race both to the media and via his social media accounts.

Russell was lucky to come out relatively unscathed and pitted at the end of the opening lap for a fresh set of tyres but now had his work cut out to salvage some points and the potential for a podium spot all but gone up in smoke with the McLarens of Norris and Piastri now comfortably looking like they would be sharing the top three with Verstappen who had romped off into the distance.

The British driver got his head down in the sweltering heat and managed to progress through the field even though he would end up having to complete 4 pit stops in total versus the mandated 3 stop the rest of the grid would complete. Russell eventually recovered to P4, 29 seconds behind Norris in P3 and just under 5 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in P5.

Like his counterparts in the rest of the field, Russell was looking decidedly worse for wear following the race. The crushing heat and humidity had taken its toll as he said:

“It was by far the most physical race I’ve ever competed in. It was insane how hot it was. It was like inside an oven. So that was a huge challenge.”

Russell’s 4th place finish brings his 2023 points haul to 132 and considering where he was on the second lap, it is a solid score from his outing in Qatar.