Russell describes ‘close touch’ with Hamilton in Holland

Russell describes ‘close touch’ with Hamilton in Holland

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During the safety car caused by Alfa Romeo in Valtteri Bottas, George Russell took the opportunity to use his own cards and asked for a set of soft tires to complete the final stage of the Dutch GP formula 1.

Running in second place at the time, Russell gave way to race winner Max Verstappen while Hamilton stayed out with used mediums, which ended up costing him the lead as Verstappen chased down the Brit at Turn 14 and passed at the end of the straight.

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Russell then caught and passed Hamilton before Lap 64, but was inches from crashing into the back of his teammate as he cut through the draft to get his W13 into Turn 1.

This was, according to the 24-year-old pilot, a moment of confusion between the two as they tried to anticipate each other’s movements.

“Obviously on that I would say that with Lewis we had a bit of a problem and I came out as he defended himself,” explained Russell.

“It might be a little rough, but you know, we have respect between the two of us, so it’s fine.”

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, 2nd place, after the race

Photo by: Steven Tee / Sports Pictures

Russell also clarified his views on Mercedes’ strategy amid the safety car, feeling the team’s best chance of claiming victory at Zandvoort lay in splitting its tactics and hedging its bets.

Although Russell felt it was a difficult decision to make and felt Hamilton’s performance deserved a podium place, he said the result could have been very different if the intermediate tires had been able to take off.

“I think as a team it was a very difficult decision because if we all quit, we would have given Max the chance. If we had sat out, maybe we would have lost with Max as well,” explained Russell.

“The best chance we had as a team to win was to split the cars, one to go in front of Max, one to stay behind and see what happened.

“Like [Hamilton] it could have retreaded, it could have been different, but you know, it was always very difficult for him.

“I’m sure Lewis wanted to push forward; as a racing driver and where we are now as a team, we want to win. Obviously we’re very happy with the points, just being consistent in putting them on the board.”

“But in the end, nobody remembers who finishes second in the championship, so we want to win the race.”

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