Russell suffers ‘missed opportunity’ despite breaking Mercedes duck


George Russell felt he suffered a missed opportunity to claim what would have been only his second F1 victory despite ending Mercedes’ long wait for a podium this season.

Starting from pole position, Russell controlled the early exchanges on wearing intermediate tyres but was ultimately passed by a flying Lando Norris in his McLaren on lap 21.

From that moment, and through more rain, two safety cars periods and a clash of wheels with the second McLaren of Oscar Piastri, Russell ran in all five of the leading positions at various stages before settling for third behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Norris.

“It felt like a missed opportunity to be honest,” said Russell. “We were really quick at the beginning of the race on the inters, and then Lando came through really fast.

“We jumped onto the slicks but made a couple of mistakes out there just pushing the limits, paid the price for it, but nevertheless the first podium of the year.

“We truly had a really fast car this weekend and to be back in the mix fighting for the victory was…we’ve affirmed that’s what Formula 1 is all about and why we go racing.”

Russell rues mistakes

On hard tyres in the first of his dry rubber stints, Russell appeared to have a chance of reeling in Verstappen for the lead, only to make a mistake out of Turn 8 that allowed Norris to sweep by.

It was arguably one of two pivotal moments of his race personally. Asked whether he felt he could have caught and passed Verstappen for the lead, he replied: “I think so.

“We had the pace, Max was very strong at the point in the race but then when we put the mediums on at the end and we were really fast.”

Looking then to his second error when he tried to pass Piastri into Turn 13 only to bang wheels, forcing him through the chicane which allowed team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pass for fourth,  

“That mistake with Oscar when I tried overtaking him and I lost a position to Lewis cost me at least P2, and maybe we could have fought with Max later in the race.

“We will take all the positives from this weekend – first pole position and first podium of the year, and exciting for everyone.”

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