Russell channeled Alonso's spirit with Turn 1 move in Spanish GP

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George Russell says his breathtaking move on the outside of Turn 1 at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix was not only premeditated, it was also inspired by a vintage Fernando Alonso maneuver in Barcelona in 2011.

As poleman Lando Norris and Max Verstappen battled it out on the run down to the first corner after the start, Russell picked up a tow from both drivers.

The Mercedes charger then dotted left to attack Turn 1 from the outside, taking advantage of his excess speed to sail past his rivals and seize the lead of the race.

Speaking after Sunday’s event, Russell said that he had elaborated his plan of attack the previous night after recalling Alonso’s blistering start at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2011 when the Spaniard went from fourth to first after making minced meat of two Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton at Turn 1.

“Yeah, I was kind of dreaming of it last night and what my plan of attack was,” he told the media.

“I saw the weather forecast and the wind had shifted to a headwind in Turn 1, which I knew meant I could brake really late and deep into the corner.

“Yeah, when I was racing karts, I always remember watching Fernando here in 2012 [2011 actually], starting P4 and getting into the lead. So, I always knew it was possible.”

Unfortunately, the daring maneuver, while spectacular, didn’t pay dividends for Russell who was overhauled in short order by Verstappen and went on to finish his race fourth after executing a soft-medium-hard tyre strategy that didn’t pay off.

“I think just a few small things went against us today,” he said. “You know, the slow pit stop then put us on the back foot in the middle stint and under a bit of pressure.

“And then, you know, lost a lot of time fighting with Lando, pitting onto the hard tyre. That was pretty rubbish, but it protected the P3 and P4 as a team and that’s what we were kind of aiming for.”

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