Toto Wolff has paid tribute to George Russell's character at the British Grand Prix after he ran to the aid of Zhou Guanyu after his Lap 1 crash. In a mixed day for the two Mercedes drivers at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton was fighting for the podium, whilst Russell was left wondering what might have been after retiring from the race on the opening lap. Russell tangled with AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly and Alfa Romeo's Zhou, the result of which sent Zhou crashing spectacularly into the barriers. With the red flags waving for a race stoppage, Russell left his recoverable Mercedes to rush to the aid of Zhou. As Russell left his car and his Mercedes was subsequently being carried back to the pits, the Briton was classified as having retired from the event.
Russell's "character" praised by Wolff
Reflecting on the events that unfolded, Mercedes Team Principal Wolff praised Russell for his actions, despite retiring from a competitive venue for the team. "It was a spectacular weekend at Silverstone, with amazing support and a more competitive showing," said Wolff. "That reflects all the hard work to bring upgrades to the car – and a circuit that played to the strengths of our current package. "Lewis drove a brilliant race with some epic battles. A better result would have been possible if things had played out differently. "George certainly had the pace to make up ground from P8. It was a shame he couldn't race, but we're proud of the character he showed after the incident."
Wolff: Austria not typically our form track
With Mercedes able to demonstrate strong pace at Silverstone, many will be hoping the team can continue an upward trend on another non-street circuit. The squad performed better at the permanent circuits of Barcelona and Silverstone, whilst struggling to keep up with Ferrari and Red Bull on the street circuits of Monaco, Baku and Montreal. However, Wolff was quick to cool any expectations of a strong performance at the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix, owing to their recent history at the venue. "I'm looking forward to being back in Austria: it's my home race and a location full of good memories," added Wolff. "It's a very different track to Silverstone and one that hasn't always suited us in the past, but the cars have changed drastically since we were last in Spielberg. "We'll keep our heads down, prepare the best we can and hopefully we can build momentum from Silverstone." Mercedes have taken just one Austrian GP win – with Valtteri Bottas in 2020 – in the last four seasons, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen winning in 2018, 2019 and 2021.