Mercedes driver George Russell has put his Singapore Grand Prix crash behind him and told reporters, at Suzuka, that he would not make such a costly mistake if Formula 1 titles were at stake.
The Briton crashed on the final lap of Sunday’s race while in third place and, on fresher tyres, hot on the heels of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari’s eventual winner Carlos Sainz.
Russell told Sky Sports ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix: “Sunday night, Shov [Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin] gave me a phone call and he basically said: Look don’t worry about it, the only reason we were there and had a chance of victory was because of the amazing job you did the whole weekend. So that gave me a lot of peace of mind and I knew that myself.
“We went all-in for the victory, we were pushing ourselves above and beyond every single lap, we’re going against the best drivers in the world and on a circuit like that you’ve only got to make a mistake by a couple of centimetres and you’re off,” added the Mercedes driver.
Reflecting on how his mishap happened, Russell admitted he saw Norris touch the wall moments ahead of him: “Clearly just sort of followed him and did it even more. I’ve got to be honest, it’s history now,” he added.
“I am here to fight for victories, I am here to fight for championships. This year we’re not fighting for a championship and we want to go all in for a victory and make sure we secure that second place. But I can tell you it won’t happen when we’re fighting for a championship,” insisted Russell.
Teammate Lewis Hamilton said he messaged Russell after the race, the seven-time F1 World Champion: “As we do when we’ve both had difficult weekends just to say, wishing you … you’ll come back and just try to shine a bit of positivity because we all know what it’s like when you have a difficult weekend.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)