Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team suffered a British Grand Prix of mixed fortunes, after Lewis Hamilton drove superbly but George Russell saw his race end very early.
Russell was involved in a huge crash on the opening corner, which saw Guanyu Zhou slide upside down into the tyre barrier in horrifying fashion. The Brit hit the Chinese driver, after being hit himself by Pierre Gasly, in what was largely a racing incident.
Russell quickly jumped out of his W13 and ran over to Zhou’s stuck C42, which had become wedged between the tyre wall and tecpro barrier. However, after his heroics, Russell wasn’t allowed to restart the race, which was red-flagged as a result of the crash. His car was unfortunately touched by the marshals, which meant he wasn’t allowed to continue.
It meant Russell’s run of finishing every race in the top five came to an end.
When the race restarted, Hamilton dropped from fifth to sixth; however, quickly found himself in third after both Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers were forced into early pit-stops, and after passing Lando Norris.
Throughout the race Hamilton demonstrated immense pace, even leading for a brief segment of the Grand Prix. In the end though, third was the best the seven-time World Champion could salvage, after a late Safety Car bunched up the pack. This led to some incredible late racing, where Hamilton made one of the overtakes of the season on both Sergio Pérez and Charles Leclerc.
Following the race, Team Principal Toto Wolff evaluated on what was a mixed afternoon for the team.
“A great race today for the fans who all came out with such passion. We had some light at the end of the tunnel in Barcelona and then struggled on three street circuits so I don’t want to talk us up too much or be too pessimistic, I’d rather be cautious. We still had our persistent ride issue all three days which is a key focus for us to tackle but we showed strong pace this weekend which is pleasing and our updates seemed to work well.
“In Austria, there will be a couple of corners which haven’t made our car happy in the past but it’s a constant learning process for us. This year is going to be a pretty tough one to win but we just need to get our house in order to be properly on top of the car’s performance.
“It was disappointing for George not to be in the race because the car pace was good but that’s the regulation so it is what it is, unfortunately. Lewis drove a strong race, we had the win right in front of us before the safety car and were chasing the Ferraris down but then after the safety car, we were never quite in the position to challenge for the front and lost a little momentum. I’m glad it’s a quick turnaround for Austria, another chance for more information which is more learning.”
“We can be pleased that we were fighting at the front” – Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin
Russell’s launch from the line was the prime reason as to why he was involved in the crash, after having zero grip due to starting on the Hard tyres. Hamilton, on the other had, started on the Mediums at both race starts, resulting in a much better launch.
Hamilton’s podium meant he now holds the record for the most podiums at a single circuit, after claiming his thirteenth at Silverstone.
Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin, explained that Russell’s starting tyres were partly why he was involved in the crash, after he too looked back on the race.
“It’s difficult for the team to know how to after a race like that. On one had its frustrating to only come away with a third place as with two cars and a bit more luck we could have been fighting for the win and a good haul of points. On the other hand, we can be pleased that we were fighting at the front after a very tough start to our season and a lot of hard work from everyone in Brackley and Brixworth to recover a huge performance gap.
“George’s race didn’t last long. We knew the hard tyre would be a risk but didn’t anticipate us losing so much ground off the line. That clearly was the contributing factor in George being part of the accident at the start which ended his race but at least no one was hurt. Lewis on the other had a great start moving to 3rd so it was a shame that he was put back into fifth for the restart from where we dropped a further position. Even so, there were plenty of times where it looked like we might be able to get back into the fight for the win but sadly it was not to be.
“Even so, we can take a lot of encouragement from the progress this weekend. We brought a significant update to the car and it looks to have delivered what we expected. Now we know what works for the car, we can find more. We’ve got a couple of days to regroup ahead of the Austria sprint race so plenty to do in a short space of time but we’re excited to be going there with some hope of fighting at the front.”