Le Mans winner Richard Bradley has slammed George Russell for his contact with Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona, claiming “he knew exactly what he was doing.”
The two Mercedes team-mates made contact on the pit straight during qualifying after Russell moved across into Hamilton with the two at full speed, with the younger Briton saying he had not been informed that Hamilton was closing up behind him at pace.
Hamilton tagged the side of Russell as he moved across and damaged his front wing in the process, which the seven-time World Champion called “really dangerous” in the aftermath of the moment.
Mercedes blamed “miscommunication” for the contact their two drivers made during qualifying, with the team and Russell both formally warned by the FIA after moving into Hamilton’s path at high speed on Saturday.
Sportscar driver Richard Bradley, winner in the LMP2 category at Le Mans in 2015, has said such a move from Russell is “unforgivable” in the circumstances, and was “amazed” the team did not take much stronger action against him for what could have been a much more dangerous crash.
“What happened in qualifying with Lewis was just unforgivable. Unforgivable,” Bradley said on the first episode of the On Track GP podcast, launched in collaboration between PlanetF1.com and DR Sports.
“See, there is absolutely no way that he wouldn’t have checked his mirrors before he started that lap.
“You always, always have a check before you’re starting your push lap, and he knew exactly where Lewis was.
“Everything he says is complete rubbish. He knew exactly what he was doing. I’m amazed he wasn’t handed his P45 on the spot for that. That could have been like an aircraft crash.”
Both Russell and Hamilton looked to play down concerns surrounding their moment after the incident took place, with Russell telling Sky F1 after qualifying: “I mean, I wasn’t even aware [Hamilton] was there. I was starting my lap, trying to steal a slipstream from [Carlos] Sainz and fortunately nothing bad happened.”
Russell qualified 12th for the Spanish Grand Prix and eventually made his way up to the podium, joining Hamilton in the top three to make it Mercedes’ best combined result of the season so far.
PlanetF1.com also understands Russell will lengthen his stay with Mercedes beyond the end of the season, with sources indicating he will remain a ‘long-term’ part of the team by Mercedes activating an extension clause in his contract.
You can watch the full episode of the On Track GP podcast, launched in collaboration between PlanetF1.com and our partners at DR Sports, below for all of Bradley’s thoughts on the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, and more from the world of Formula 1.