George Russell has called for Mercedes to "regroup" after a "frustrating" race at the Japanese Grand Prix. The Briton lined up in P8 on the grid and, after a two-hour delay to the event getting underway due to heavy rainfall, eventually finished the shortened race in the same position, while teammate Lewis Hamilton made up one place by ending the day in fifth. Russell was left disappointed by his result, and suggested that one aspect of the strategy had been particularly detrimental. "We need to review and see what we could have done better today," Russell said after the race at Suzuka. "I think we had a stronger car than the result reflects, and that we could have been P6 today. "I think that stacking in the pit lane cost me positions, and that made it a frustrating afternoon, so we need to look at it and see what the other options were. "I made some good overtakes after that – but it was a case of trying to recover what we had lost."
Russell hopes lessons learned from recovery vehicle incident
Reflecting on the conditions in which the race took place, Russell was amongst those to voice his surprise at a recovery vehicle being on the track whilst the cars were driving behind the Safety Car at the beginning of the event. The crane entered the track to collect Carlos Sainz's stricken Ferrari following his crash on Lap 1, and Pierre Gasly appeared to have a near-miss with the vehicle when trying to catch up with the pack. He was later handed a penalty for speeding under a red flag. It has since been confirmed that the FIA will conduct an investigation into "the events involving the deployment of recovery vehicles". "It was a strange afternoon overall," Russell commented. "The conditions at the beginning were impossible, not with the grip but in terms of visibility and the amount of spray this generation of cars generates, and we need to learn the right lessons from the incident with the recovery vehicle on track while we were running behind the Safety Car."
Japanese GP part of "difficult" double-header for Mercedes
Russell's struggles at Suzuka come one week after he finished outside of the points at the Singapore Grand Prix. The 24-year-old hopes that the team can bounce back in time for the final races on the calendar. "Overall, this has been a difficult double-header for us, and we've not scored the points we should have – so we need to regroup, focus on the final four races, and try to extract everything from the car we have under us," Russell explained. "And of course, congratulations to Max [Verstappen] on his second championship; the outcome has been clear for a while, but he and Red Bull have done an exceptional job this year."