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Mercedes explain late Russell Qatar 'jeopardy'

The team made a last-minute call that nearly cost the Briton his fourth place on the road.

Russell Qatar
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Mercedes has explained late "jeopardy" which nearly cost George Russell his fourth place at the Qatar Grand Prix.

Russell finished 4.8 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc, with Mercedes' main aim to outscore Ferrari following the pre-race withdrawal of Carlos Sainz due to a fuel system issue.

But Russell was the Brackley-based outfit's last hope for a strong score after teammate Lewis Hamilton retired on the opening lap after the two Silver Arrows made contact - the former lucky to escape with minimal damage, albeit at the back of the field.

A strong surge back through the field saw Russell settle in fourth entering the final phase of the race, though things almost unravelled after a switch to Softs for the last stint and a crack at the fastest lap.

Russell fastest lap attempt could have been smoother

Head of Communications Bradley Lord explained to media, including RacingNews365: "George actually did make an attempt on fastest lap and then had a moment, a sort of snap, on that lap then a warning came up.

"From that point, we just had to play it safe and get the car home. But in the meantime, in charging the battery for that fastest lap attempt, he'd lose a good amount of lap time doing that.

"Suddenly, Leclerc was within reach and he pushed very hard on that final lap. It may have looked quite smooth from the outside, but there was a good amount of jeopardy within the garage as we were watching that unfold.

"Probably it was something we could have done a little bit more smoothly, but again, we'll debrief, replay on that and see what we can do better next time."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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