Russell drove 'too carefully' in first-round F1 battle with Hamilton

Russell drove ‘too carefully’ in first-round F1 battle with Hamilton

Russell started second, but after giving space to Hamilton, he came out of the opening sequence of the first lap corners in fourth place, a position he still held at the end of the race.

Russell admitted that recent frustrations, including his first corner collision with carlos sainz in Austin encouraged him to take a cautious approach, especially when fighting with his teammate.

“I knew I couldn’t have passed Max [Verstappen] outside,” Russell said when asked by about his first lap. “But with Lewis on the inside I didn’t want to be too aggressive, obviously he was my team-mate.

“And in the end it cost me and made me lose two positions. So in the end, if I had managed to maintain my position, I would have probably finished second today.

When asked if he would have given the same space to someone other than his team-mate, Russell replied: “Yeah I think it was more in Turn 1 to be honest I would have normally just cut or in turn 2 I would run the driver wide.

“So yeah, that’s how the game works sometimes. I’d like to think it would have been the same if it had been the other way around. Maybe, maybe not, I’m not too sure.

“But I’ve had a bit of a mess the last three races on my behalf, too many incidents, too many mistakes. And that was probably a factor of taking it too carefully. And there’s a balance there- in there somewhere.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport footage

Russell admitted to some frustration with his strategy in Mexico. At the start of the race he indicated that he wanted to run long on his first set of mediums and then move to softs, a choice used to great effect by Daniel Ricardo. However, shortly after that post, he mirrored Hamilton’s strategy by going hard.

“A lot of positives to take away from the weekend,” he said. “It would also have been interesting to see how we performed if we started on soft and moved to medium, or even if we extended medium and moved to soft at the end. That’s what I was looking for in the car Everything is easier with hindsight.

Expanding on the choice of strategy, he said: “There wasn’t really thought about starting on the soft, but there was definitely a thought of extending support and going into the soft.

“I’m not too sure, I think we reacted to [Nicholas] Latifi and Lewis, they both went into overdrive and planted green areas everywhere. But the hard tire just didn’t work from the second lap.

“I think generally this weekend Pirelli brought too hard a compound. So soft should have been medium, medium should have been hard, and hard was like ultra hard, actually.

“So to see Ricciardo’s performance is also a bit disappointing, because I really felt like I could have continued on that medium at a good pace, and we would have flown at the end on that soft.”

Russell made it clear over the radio that he was unhappy with the hard tyres, but there was nothing the team could do. At the end he made an extra late stop just to secure the fastest lap.

“I don’t think there was that much frustration as such,” he said. “You’re just trying to get your point across, and when you’re out there it’s physically demanding, and there’s a lot going on and you struggle with the car, and it can come across that way.

“But I was trying to get my message across. I felt good on the medium. The pace seemed strong, before Lewis came to the pits I closed the gap. When I was in the lead, I was setting personal bests.

“Like I said, it’s so easy in hindsight, and maybe we should have recognized that there was no way I could have passed Checo on the hard tyre, and the only way would have been to put a soft.”

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