Revealed: The role Fernando Alonso played in George Russell’s Canada shunt

Jamie Woodhouse
Fernando Alonso speaking with George Russell at the 2023 pre-season photo call in Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso speaking with George Russell.

George Russell said his error that put him in the wall at the Canadian Grand Prix came when he was “doing everything” he could to pressurise Fernando Alonso.

With Red Bull’s Max Verstappen getting the perfect launch to maintain his lead at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, one he never lost, Russell’s Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was able to make the pass on Alonso to improve to P2, putting the Aston Martin driver between the pair of Brits.

Alonso then in the opening laps was plotting a way past Hamilton, though he could not do that in comfort as he had Russell breathing down his neck, until he was not.

On Lap 12 Russell took too much sausage kerb at the Turn 8/9 chicane, putting him out of shape as he clattered the wall on exit.

Russell was able to drag the heavily wounded W14 back to the pits and rejoin the race in P19 and last, and after the race Russell would detail the innocent role which Alonso played in his date with the wall.

“Apologies to the team,” Russell began. “We’ve put so much hard work and effort into this weekend and a small mistake has had massive consequences.

“I was doing everything I could to put Fernando under pressure. I then ran a little bit wide and hit the kerb; next thing I knew I was in the wall. That’s at least 12 points that we’ve left on the table today.” recommends

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Russell had impressively worked his way back into the points-paying positions to run as high as P8, but further trouble was soon afoot.

Mercedes would inform their driver of terminal issues with the brakes which meant he would need to retire the W14, and thus that recovery effort was to go unrewarded in the end.

Russell though was blaming only himself for that, suggesting that his earlier incident would have in some way been behind this issue that brought his race to its conclusion.

“Kicking myself because such a small error with big consequences,” he told Sky F1, “and that’s how it is on circuits like this, but not good enough from my side.

“And then yeah, did a good job to get back into the mix and had a bit of an issue with the brakes. It all stemmed from my mistake. Sorry to the team.”

Hamilton went on to join Verstappen and Alonso on the podium as he improved to 102 points for the season so far, while Russell remains on 65.