A disappointing Brazilian GP race weekend hit a new low for Mercedes on Grand Prix Sunday, George Russell put out of his misery early due to an immiment power unit failure risk.
The Saturday sprint at Interlagos was a “bruising” outing for Mercedes, as team boss Toto Wolff put it, with the W14s driven by Russell and Lewis Hamilton burning through the Pirelli tyre life.
Hamilton described the feeling in the car as “horrible” as he predicted a long and painful Grand Prix to come. It turns out he was right.
Power unit woes for George Russell in dismal Mercedes outing
Like in the sprint, Mercedes found themselves slipping back as the race went on, their battle reduced to a scrap with Alpine as Aston Martin and the sole remaining Ferrari of Carlos Sainz drove off into the distance.
Russell was already harbouring frustration over the absence of Mercedes team orders for Hamilton to concede position, his afternoon getting worse still when he was ordered to retire the car.
Mercedes would confirm that rising oil temperatures in the power unit triggered them to make that decision, with a PU failure incoming if Russell had have continued.
“George Russell retiring with high and worsening PU oil temperature,” Mercedes confirmed. “Risk of imminent failure.”
Hamilton managed only P8, four points that will offer the team little comfort on a race weekend which they will be very glad to move on from.
Russell was at least not alone in failing to reach the chequered flag, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc crashing out on the formation lap due to a hydraulics failure, while both Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, plus Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen, failed to finish.