Russell admits ‘throwing away’ comfortable Vegas GP podium


A frustrated George Russell rued a clumsy run-in with Max Verstappen halfway through the Las Vegas GP, and reckons the incident cost him a spot on the podium.

Russell was running among the top four on lap 24 of 50 when Verstappen crept up from behind and plunged up the inside of the Mercedes at Turn 12.

However, the Briton turned into the corner unaware of the Red Bull car’s presence and a collision ensued. Both drivers suffered minor damage from the encounter which brought out the safety car to allow the marshals to clear the debris.

“It was pretty straight forward until the incident with Max,” Russell explained. “Just totally didn't see him in the blind spot. Wasn't expecting the overtake.

“I wasn't even really fighting him because we knew that Max wasn't our race. We just had to keep the tyres alive.

“It was a comfortable podium just thrown away once again. So, this season is really disappointing. Very frustrating.”

Verstappen eventually clawed his way back into the lead to win the race from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc while Russell was also able to charge on, the Mercedes driver snatching fourth from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon on the final lap of the race.

However, a 5-second penalty handed to him by the stewards for his contact with Verstappen ultimately demoted Russell to P8 in the race’s final classification.

“The only piece of damage was the wheel cover, which if anything, probably would have helped the graining by having that extra bit of cooling,” he reckoned.

“So, if it wasn't for the safety car, we would have continued and would have gone onto the podium.

“I don't really know what to say really. Just really frustrated with today.”

Saturday night’s race unfolded under warmer temperatures than expected. But Russell still struggled to keep his rubber in the right temperature window during the safety car period.

“It was really dangerous under the safety car,” he acknowledged. “The tyres were rock solid and they were sort of colder than you'd experience in the rain really.”

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