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George Russell

Russell defends mistakes with evolved F1 approach

George Russell has addressed the mistakes he made at the Canadian GP by explaining that he is pushing more now than in the past.

Russell Spain
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George Russell has defended the mistakes he made at the Canadian Grand Prix, highlighting that he is making more errors as he is "pushing" himself more than when he first joined Mercedes.

The 26-year-old was in contention for the race victory in Montreal, having started on pole, but a couple of moments cost him time and track position, including falling behind Lando Norris, who finished second to Max Verstappen.

Having pitted during the late safety car for new tyres, he had to battle his way past the McLaren of Oscar Piastri and team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who he completed a daring overtake on to claim third-place and a first trip to the podium this season.

The one-time grand prix winner defended his approach, underlying that without pushing for extra lap time, he would not have been in the position to fight for victory anyway.

"I could have easily not made any of those mistakes if I turned down the risk dial and drove a tenth [of a second] of a lap map slower for 70 laps," he told media including RacingNews365. "But if I drove a tenth of a lap slower for 70 laps, I probably wouldn't be in that position in the first place.

"In 2022, I don't think I was pushing myself as much as I am now. And I didn't make any mistakes, really, throughout the course the whole season. Now I'm really, really pushing myself because I want to get that victory for the team."

Russell would reduce risk-taking in championship fight

Whilst the change in approach shows Russell has a different mindset to when he first joined Mercedes, it also underscores his development as a driver.

He was widely criticised for his Montreal mistakes, including by this writer, but the British racer was quick to point out he would not have taken unnecessary risks if he were in the fight for the drivers' title - as well as recognising that he pushed too much.

"If I was fighting for a championship, I probably wouldn't be pushing myself, or risking that much during these races," he said. 

"But right now, we're not fighting for the championship. We had half a chance at victory [at the Canadian Grand Prix], and I went above and beyond to achieve that - probably too far."

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