Russell: Drivers becoming overly cautious due to penalties

© XPB 

George Russell believes the excess number of penalties handed out by the F1 stewards could impact the spectacle on the track as drivers become overly cautious.

Russell was on the receiving end of the stewards' scrutiny when he was demoted three spots on the British Grand Prix grid for tangling with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz on the opening lap of Silverstone's Sprint Qualifying event.

The FIA has typically adopted a "let them race" stance regarding first lap skirmishes, but Russell admitted to being surprised by the stewards' call against him and also by the sheer number of sanctions levied upon drivers this season.

"Rubbin's racing, as they say, I think it's always good for the fans and even for the drivers to have close, hard racing," argued Russell.

"So I think when there's so many penalties being dished out, it does change the views of the drivers slightly, how you approach it, and nobody wants to sit there and everybody be cautious, because it won't be entertaining for anyone."

Russell's contact with Sainz was anything but brutal, but the Williams charger felt that the consequences of the maneuver - the fact that the Ferrari driver had lost so many positions due to Russell's move - had likely impacted the stewards' decision.

"I thought it was a little bit harsh," he said. "It was one of those first lap incidents really, lots going on. You know, I had a little small lock-up, there was nothing malicious.

"I wasn't trying to squeeze him or anything. And I think if it was any other corner, he'd have just carried on, potentially even in front of me.

"So we're told that the consequences of an action is never taken into consideration. But it felt like in this instance it was.

"But I respect the decision. At the end of the day they’re the rule makers, so we’ve got to stand by their views."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter