Russell: 'Misjudgment' behind Piastri thwarted top-5 result at Spa


George Russell says a "misjudgment" while running behind Oscar Piastri's stricken McLaren at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix compromised his race and a potential top-five finish at Spa.

Launching his race from P8, Russell enjoyed a clean get-way and exited La Source with a clear path ahead.

But on the run down to Eau Rouge, the Mercedes driver unassumingly moved into the path of a slow-moving Piastri, who had collided with the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz at Turn 1, boxing in Russell who was then overtaken by several cars left and right.

Russell completed the first lap a lowly 11th which compelled Mercedes to extend its driver's first stint on the medium tyre to 22 laps, or exactly half the race, which carried the Briton to sixth at the checkered flag.

"Yes, it was just very unfortunate in the beginning, when Oscar had his failure, I went to the left, sort of misjudged that he can turn, I got boxed in and lost four or five positions at the start," Russell explained.

"So, that kind of dictated my race. If it wasn’t for that I would have been P5. I would have liked to think I would have been there with Lewis and Charles fighting for the podium."

Russell, Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and Alpine's Pierre Gasly were the only drivers to execute a one-stop race.

"I think one stop around here was a pretty competitive stint," he added.

"The last stint I felt really strong on the soft tyre. It's just been a really challenging weekend. Glad it's over. A bit of a reset and go again."

Russell's opening 22-lap run on the medium tyre included the brief spell of rain that hit the race which made for a "tricky" few laps.

"I mean, it was definitely tricky when the rain started coming down," he said.

"Again, if we knew how much rain there was going to be, we would have pitted onto the soft, and that's when you would have had the biggest difference in those challenging conditions.

"But yeah, all in all, it was a good race. Both the races were competitive, opening that gap to P3 in the championship. But we're still focused on Red Bull and trying to close that gap."

Like Hamilton, Russell complained about the significant amount of bouncing suffered by his Mercedes during the race.

"We suffered with a huge amount of bouncing today," he said.

"A number of teams did, maybe not as severe as we did, still, obviously a bit of a shame to see that as a sport at the pinnacle of motorsport the majority of teams are still struggling with bouncing.

"You know, I hope something can be solved in that regard in the future."

The one-time Grand Prix winner remained confident that Mercedes will be able to hold its runner-up spot behind Red Bull in F1's Constructors' championship after the summer break.

"[McLaren] weren't as competitive as I thought they were going be this race," he said. "I think Charles [Leclerc] was maybe a surprise for us. I don't think we anticipated them being so quick.

"But as I said, we're in a good place in the teams’ championship. That looks pretty secure for now. But we're just focused on trying to win a race this year."

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