Toto Wolff has explained why he decided to chastise George Russell over the radio during the French GP. Russell secured third place at the Circuit Paul Ricard following a lengthy battle with Red Bull's Sergio Perez. The Mercedes driver eventually made the move directly after a late Virtual Safety Car period, catching Perez unawares and accelerating past him. Prior to that, Russell had tried an overtaking move at the Turn 8 chicane, a move which encouraged Perez to drive across the chicane and keep his position. Russell was annoyed at the inaction from the stewards, and voiced his displeasure over the radio. This prompted Team Principal Toto Wolff to make a rare communication to the driver, telling Russell that no penalty was forthcoming and that he should attempt another overtake. "I found that he was a little bit stuck in this loop of being upset about the situation, and as a driver you are [alone] in your little cockpit," Wolff explained to media, including RacingNews365.com after the race. "I felt that he had the pace; he just needed to drop the upsetness and concentrate on wherever he could beat him on track. "In the end he was just clever; there was confusion with the Virtual Safety Car, he just did it."
Russell: Radio exchange was good for the team
Russell went on to take the final podium position and complete Mercedes' best result of the season, with teammate Lewis Hamilton taking second place. Speaking after the race, Russell was adamant that he was happy to receive the radio message, and believed the exchange helped bring the team closer. "Emotions ran high for everyone, because I felt that I had done a mega overtaking move on Checo, but I was not allowed to keep the position. We obviously had more pace," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com . "I enjoyed it when I heard Toto on the radio, but either way I was just going to go full throttle. "We're in it together, as a team. When you're in the car, though, sometimes you feel a little lonely. "We do everything we can, but you don't know what the engineers are doing. Sometimes exchanges like this bring you a little bit closer together."