George Russell apologises to Carlos Sainz for race-ending crash

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz hit by George Russell. Austin October 2022

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz hit by George Russell. Austin October 2022

George Russell has been down to Ferrari to apologise to Carlos Sainz after putting him out of the United States Grand Prix, tagging him on the opening lap.

Sainz started Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas on pole position, the Spaniard hoping to continue his 100 per cent record of winning when he lines up P1.

It was not to be.

Russell, starting fourth, hit the Spaniard as they exited Turn 1 on the opening lap with Sainz sent spinning.

Falling to the back of the field, he retired his Ferrari with a water leak while Russell was handed a five-second penalty for causing a collision.

A penalty Sainz feels was justified.

“For sure a penalty was deserved,” he said. “If he deserves five, 10 or a stop-go I’m not going to evaluate.

“I think you’ve never seen this kind of incident in the top three positions because normally in the top four drivers don’t do these kind of mistakes.”

Russell was quick to hold up his hand, admitting the accident was entirely his fault with the Briton going down to Ferrari to personally apologise to Sainz.

Explaining his side, he said while he was surprised by the positioning of Sainz’s car, the crash was his fault.

“Firstly, apologies to Carlos you never want to be involved in an incident that ultimately destroys somebody else’s race,” said Russell.

Explaining his side of the story, the Mercedes driver said: “When I attacked at Turn 1, I was focused on the three cars around me and I was expecting Carlos to try and fight it around the outside of Max.

“So I braked quite deep into the corner and when I saw he tried cutting back underneath Max, it was already too late for me there and yeah, I can avoid the incident.

“Hands up from from my side should have been aware of that possibility.”

Russell went on to finish the Grand Prix in fifth place.

“From there on in, to be honest, it was a really miserable afternoon for me.

“I’ve been off the pace all weekend and I know we had some damage so [that] gives me a bit of peace of mind this evening if that damage turns out to be more than we first expected.

“But, as soon as I recognised we were out of striking range of a better position, it was a matter of just trying to bring the car home.”

Asked why he struggled for pace, Russell behind Lewis Hamilton throughout the weekend, he replied: “Yeah, a few ideas, there were a few reasons why.

“It’s very difficult in these conditions, and we clearly see compared to Red Bull where we’re strong, where we’re weak, and for me personally not too sure.

“I’m not too concerned. It’s a bit of a unique circuit, quite bumpy, was very windy.

“It wasn’t a straightforward weekend. I was pretty good in qualifying, my pace in FP2 in the Pirelli test running compared to Red Bull and Lewis was good. It was just today it wasn’t there. So I need to understand why.”

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