Russell laments ‘pathetic’ last-lap error

George Russell says his final-lap retirement from the Singapore Grand Prix after clipping a wall was “such a pathetic mistake” and “truly heartbreaking” but that he is trying to overcome it quickly.

Mercedes opted to take advantage of a late Virtual Safety Car to pit Russell out of second place and Lewis Hamilton from fourth, in an attempt to chase down Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris for the victory. The top two were holding Russell at bay when he clipped the wall turning in at Turn 10 on the final lap, causing him to crash out of third place and bringing a surprising end to a race he felt he could have won.

“Very strange race. With Carlos managing the pace for the whole duration, it was quite difficult to keep the concentration because we were driving 1.5 seconds off the pace,” Russell said. “But it was only natural for him to do that, with the tire advantage we had. If he went any faster, it would’ve only given us the opportunity.


“We obviously then got fortunate with the (VSC) and that was when the race really turned on its head, got really exciting. Was really pushing flat out, but again Carlos did a great job just to manage the gap, with the DRS with Lando — very smart of him to do that.

“I had half a chance with Lando — half a car’s length different and I think we’d have won the race, because I would’ve got ahead of Lando and then Carlos would’ve been stuck with no DRS and we’d have flew by him. Instead, we end the race in the wall.

“No idea what happened, how that happened. Probably a lack of concentration — maybe frustration knowing that that was the last lap, the opportunity was gone. And a one-centimeter mistake has sort of clouded the whole weekend.”

Although Russell was struggling to overcome the error in the immediate aftermath of the race, he says he wants to try and find a way of focusing on the way he had driven up to that point to be in with a chance of victory.

“In the moment you just want to curl up in a ball and be with nobody. It’s the most horrendous feeling in the world, when you’re so physically drained, mentally drained, missed out on an opportunity of victory, and then to make such a mistake. It is truly heartbreaking.

“But, I’ve got to be honest now I’m standing here an hour later. It’s been such an amazing weekend. I truly think I am driving better than I’ve ever driven. Qualifying was amazing yesterday. The race was great. I felt confident, I felt comfortable. And I’m not going to let a mistake of two centimeters knock me down.

“So I’ll have a tough night, probably a tough morning, but then just put it behind me and go again. But I can only apologize to the team because they obviously deserved more. But, yeah, s**t happens.

“I’m not just going to brush it off, for sure not. But it was such a nothing of a mistake. If I spun off or had a lock-up and ended up in the wall, I would be feeling very different. But to clip the wall on the last lap is just such a pathetic mistake. It’s why it sort of feels so strange right now.

“It’s probably that lack of concentration, as I said — it’s the last lap and I knew the opportunity was gone. Goes to show you just need to stay on it, doesn’t matter what the scenario is. (But) a lot of positives.”

Story originally appeared on Racer