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George Russell

Russell rues 'missed opportunity'; accepts Hamilton apology

The Mercedes driver accepts Lewis Hamilton's apology after their first lap tangle.

Russell Japan
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George Russell feels the Qatar Grand Prix was a "missed opportunity" for Mercedes after colliding with Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap.

The pair were close heading into Turn 1, after Hamilton had a better start on the Soft tyres.

As they went side-by-side Hamilton clipped the front left of Russell, causing them both to go off track. While Russell could continue, Hamilton was out on the spot.

Russell climbed back through the field up to fourth and sealed 12 points, enabling Mercedes to outscore Ferrari in its battle for second in the Constructors' after Charles Leclerc finished fifth and Carlos Sainz failed to start due to a fuel pump issue.

But the Briton felt more was on offer had the collision with Hamilton not happened.



Russell 'appreciates' Hamilton apology

"It is frustrating because it was a big missed opportunity for us, we've got one goal and that's to finish P2 in the Constructors' Championship," Russell told media including RacingNews365.

"We had a lot of discussions this morning about how we're going to work together, the fight was not with each other and with Ferrari.

"Fortunately we still came away with more points than them this weekend, but Lewis and I have huge respect for each other. Nothing was intentional from either side."

Hamilton took responsibility following the shunt, which Russell accepted despite having lost a potential podium.

"I definitely appreciate him apologising, as I said on the radio in every incident it involves two people," said Russell.

"I was gutted because of the result for the team, the Drivers' Championship has been a complete disaster.

"We've had one goal which was to finish P2 in the Constructors' Championship and we lost a big opportunity, but I still have full faith that we can achieve it.

"We still have positivity because the car was quick, we had a really strong race, we have a few updates coming for the last races of the season."

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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