George Russell reveals intriguing theory behind Canadian Grand Prix retirement

Henry Valantine
George Russell pits with damage. Canada June 2023.

George Russell is inspected by his Mercedes crew after damaging his car. Canada June 2023.

George Russell believes the amount of traffic in which he found himself contributed to his eventual retirement in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Russell found himself relegated to the back of the field early on when he clouted the wall on the exit of Turn 9, with a puncture to his right-rear tyre and leaving that part of his car “a bit bent” afterwards.

He was able to crawl back to the pits for a new set of tyres and keep going in the race, recovering to eighth place on the road behind Alex Albon and showing solid pace, before being forced to retire around 15 laps from the end, with Mercedes citing overheating brakes.

Russell was seen moving away from the slipstream of other drivers on the straight as he looked to cool his car while following, which ultimately proved to be a fruitless exercise as he came away from Montreal empty handed at the weekend – which he admitted was tough to handle.

“I just went a bit wide into Turn 8. I knew I was going to hit the kerb, but I wasn’t expecting the sausage kerb to have such a violent response,” Russell told reporters after the race, as quoted by

“Next thing, I’m in the air. When I landed, I lost the rear and I was in the wall. It all happened really quite suddenly.

“I did [assume it was over], to be honest. I was surprised that we managed to continue. I was very close to pulling up… it’s a difficult pill to swallow. But that’s how the sport should be. One small mistake and you should be punished for it.” recommends

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When discussing the overheating issue, Russell revealed that he and Mercedes set up the car as though he would be fighting further forward – an understandable decision, given he started fourth on the grid on Sunday.

With that, he believes his retirement could have originated from having to work his way through the pack again after dropping to the tail end of the field.

“I need to look into it with the team but I’m pretty sure it was just because I was in so much traffic,” he said.

“We weren’t planning to be and the brakes weren’t in the right spot for that.

“It was all quite sudden when it was too late. I think the thing with brakes, once you go over a certain oxidation threshold, there’s no recovering.

“It doesn’t matter how much you nurse them. They’re just on a rate you can’t recover.”