Lewis Hamilton says George Russell drove “phenomenally” in the Singapore Grand Prix and his last-lap mistake should not overshadow his teammate’s performance.
Russell was running in third place chasing down leaders Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris on fresh tires – with Hamilton in tow – when he clipped the wall at Turn 10 on the final lap and went straight on into the barrier. That promoted Hamilton into third but the seven-time world champion pointed to his own error in the same race a year ago when he locked up and hit the wall in wet conditions as a sign of how close to an incident drivers regularly are.
“We’re all trying to be millimeter-perfect out there and it’s very, very easy to make mistakes,” Hamilton said. “It’s very easy too for any us to have been in the position that George was in. He’s been driving phenomenally all weekend, so it was really unfortunate for him – last lap – to finish that way.
“But he continues to grow, he’s continuing to improve so I know that he’s going to keep getting stronger and faster and if there’s any way I can help, I will be a part of that naturally in the next couple of years.
“I have a lot of experience, I’ve been here a long time so putting together a race is… not that it’s easy but the race is where I’m most comfortable on track. I think it’s just keeping your head down, it’s trying not to make (mistakes) … but if you look at last year for example, I made a mistake in Turn 7 and went off and crashed into the wall so it can happen to any one of us and it’s just one of those things.”
With Russell pitting out of second place and Hamilton fourth under a late Virtual Safety Car to take on fresh mediums and try to fight for the win, Hamilton says it felt like a gamble worth taking on his side but was perhaps less clear cut for his team-mate.
“We needed to take the risk, have a shot at trying to get past (Sainz and Norris) and going for the win. I think we had really good pace. So I think the team did a great job.
“I don’t know, I think George was in second at the time, and maybe if I was in his position, I probably would have stayed out and at least kept the McLaren behind. But we gave it a shot. And it was really fun to be hunting these guys down. It was just too difficult to pass in the end.”