Russell admits both sprint penalties were ‘fair’ in Austin


George Russell was sanctioned twice by the US Grand Prix stewards on Saturday, but the Mercedes driver did not argue against the penalties.

Russell was first handed a three-place grid drop for impeding Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the sprint shootout.

And then in the 19-lap afternoon race he was hit with a five-second time penalty for overtaking McLaren’s Oscar Piastri outside the track limits on the exit of Turn 1 at The Circuit of the Americas.

The Briton finished the sprint event seventh on the road but ended up P8 in the final classification once his time penalty was factored in.

“Definitely a scrappy day,” he told media after the race. “In the stewards [office] twice, both were fair penalties, neither were intentional.”

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Regarding his move on Piastri, Russell said that he assumed the risk hoping that the Aussie would concede the position rather than run him wide.

“He had his right to push me off and I went for it, just thinking if he was being kind I would have got the position,” he said.

Thereafter, Russell was able to reel in the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and briefly gain the upper hand on the Spaniard, but the latter quickly recouped the position.

“It was a shame I couldn’t get past Carlos, he was just too quick in the corners that mattered compared to us,” he said.

Assessing his weekend in Austin so far, Russell conceded that his form in qualifying had not been on par with his recent performances.

“We knew in qualifying if we did everything right, P6 was probably the maximum,” he said. “It’s just been a bit of a strange weekend; I was really off the pace in Q1 and Q2 and then Q3 things came back to me.

“It’s swings and roundabouts. Qualifying is definitely one of my strengths recently, something to review why it hasn’t been so good this weekend.

“But, it’s one weekend you can’t get it right every time.”

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