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Russell: Contact with Sainz 'inevitable' as expectation goes wrong

George Russell believes contact was unavoidable with Carlos Sainz in the US Grand Prix in their first corner shunt.

George Russell believes his first corner collision with United States Grand Prix pole-sitter Carlos Sainz was "inevitable" as he misjudged the Ferrari's intentions. Russell started fourth at Austin, but rammed Sainz broadside at Turn 1 after a poor getaway for the Spaniard left him trying to re-pass Max Verstappen. Sainz cut back to straight-line the exit of Turn 1, hoping to gain momentum on Max Verstappen in the run through the esses, but was spun 360 by Russell. Ferrari were then forced into retiring Sainz on the opening lap as the contact created a water leak on the F1-75 machine. Russell was issued a five-second time penalty for the collision and finished a lowly fifth, but also banked the fastest lap bonus point. After the race, he felt there was nothing he could have done to avoid Sainz.

Russell on Sainz contact

"When I was attacking Turn 1, and I saw [Sainz] was on the outside of Max, I was expecting him to try and hold it around the outside of him," the Briton told media, including RacingNews365.com. "As soon as I recognised he was trying to cut back underneath Max, I'd already committed to my braking zone and contact was inevitable. "If he was holding it around the outside of Max, for sure I would have been fine, as I was battling with Lewis [Hamilton], not with those cars ahead. "As soon as you slow it down as a driver and try and cut underneath, it was difficult [for me to react]. "So as I said, I hold my hands up to that, but as a driver, you need to be aware of the possibilities of cars ahead [doing that]. "[There's not] a lot more to say."

Damage for Russell

Russell did not have the pace to keep up with the leaders – including Sergio Perez who had a broken front wing – after suffering minor damage in the incident on a difficult afternoon. "We didn't think there was much damage, but I've got to say it was probably the worst Sunday of my year today," he explained. "I was nowhere with regards to the pace, so I'm hoping that when we look at the car, there might be a bit more damage than we first expected. "As soon as I recognised I was out of striking distance of Checo, and Charles [Leclerc], it was a matter of bringing the car home because we were struggling to keep on the black stuff today. "It was just a bit all over the place. The balance was inconsistent through the stint and through the lap. "The only strange thing was that my middle stint was relatively competitive when I was hooked up behind Checo and Charles. "I was right on the back of them and within DRS [Drag Reduction System] range from a number laps, so that's obviously the odd one out as in the first and last stints, I was nowhere."

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