George Russell believes he lost out on a podium as a result of the contact he had with Max Verstappen in the Las Vegas Grand Prix, saying he didn’t see the Red Bull driver.
Verstappen was trying to overtake Russell into Turn 12 — the key corner leading onto the long flat-out run along the Strip — but the Mercedes driver turned in with the eventual winner alongside him. Both cars picked up slight damage and Russell was handed a 5s time penalty for causing a collision, and says he hadn’t expected Verstappen to try a move there.
“Totally didn’t see him in, in the blind spot, wasn’t expecting the overtake,” Russell said. “I wasn’t even really fighting him because we knew that Max wasn’t our race. We just had to keep the tires alive and, you know, it was a comfortable podium just thrown away once again.
“…It’s really disappointing, very frustrating. And now heading into Abu Dhabi, only a few points between us and Ferrari.
“The only piece of damage was the wheel cover, which, if anything, probably would have helped the graining by having that extra bit of cooling. If it wasn’t for the safety car we’d have continued and would have gone on onto the podium. I don’t really know what to say, really. Just really frustrated with [the race], with this season as a whole. Yeah, I can’t really catch a break.”
Russell says his pace was comparable with Charles Leclerc at times but he was unable to show it due to the circumstances, and feels that Mercedes has had more bad luck as a result of its car not being as competitive as it wants.
“When the car’s quick, luck always seems to be on your side and when the car’s not, you never seem to have long,” he said. “Ultimately the pace isn’t quick enough. A number of these issues have come from not being fast enough. Not a lot more to say, really.
“I think Charles looked really fast out there. He was managing the tires a lot…on the medium stint, and managed to extend a lot; that was quite impressive. But on the hard tire, I felt pretty competitive. We all got stuck behind Alex for quite a long time. We know they’ve got good straight-line speed and it was difficult to overtake.”