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George Russell

Russell plays down Suzuka squabbles with Hamilton

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton went wheel-to-wheel on a number of occasions during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Russell Japan
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell has played down the significance of his battles with team-mate Lewis Hamilton during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Early in the race, Russell slipped ahead of Hamilton at the final chicane, before Hamilton reclaimed the position into the first corner with the aid of DRS.

A handful of laps later, they fought into Spoon corner and both ran off the circuit before adopting differing strategies, with Russell opting for a one-stop, eventually going onto finish seventh after waving past Hamilton and being passed by Carlos Sainz's Ferrari.

“I view that as good hard racing, the fact that we were in a position to be put him under pressure and make the moves on him, I was happy with,” Russell told media including RacingNews365.

“So I'll take the positives. The pace of the car on my side was, I thought, really strong considering how difficult the car was to drive this weekend.

“It's just hard, fair racing. Of course, we lost a bit of overall time fighting one another and you are a bit frustrated on the radio. That's just part of racing."

'Bigger fish to fry

In the closing stages of the Grand Prix, Hamilton reeled in his team-mate for fifth place with Mercedes implementing team orders to swap the cars.

The instruction came despite Russell's suggestion to use DRS to keep Sainz behind, as the Ferrari driver was closing in on the pair.

Russell eventually finished behind Sainz, despite Hamilton slowing to give him DRS in an effort to defend.

Hamilton labelled the strategy call as making “no sense”, but Russell says that Mercedes has bigger issues to worry about than that.

"There's nothing to discuss, we've got bigger fish to fry which is how to make our car go quicker," he said.

"Both of us lost time to the cars around us. We're not going to give up position easily to one another."

F1 2023 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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