George Russell calls out Charles Leclerc over ‘questionable’ Silverstone defending

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc, Ferrari and George Russell, Mercedes, battle. England, July 2023.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari and George Russell, Mercedes, battle at Silverstone. England, July 2023.

George Russell found himself stuck behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in his opening British GP stint, and was not happy with some of the defensive manoeuvres.

Russell went against the grain by starting his home race on the soft compound tyre, but it was not enough to help him find a way past the rolling roadblock that was Leclerc, despite consistent attempts.

Russell would manage just short of 30 laps on that soft tyre, and the switch to mediums would do the trick as he went on to finally clear Leclerc, going on to secure a P5 finish, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton ensured Mercedes featured on the podium celebrations with a P3.

In the end, Russell felt the opening exchanges with Leclerc did not really change the course of his race, feeling he was stung by the Safety Car which appeared shortly after his stop when Kevin Magnussen retired his flaming Haas VF-23, though he was not best pleased with how Leclerc was driving to maintain track position.

“I was really happy with my soft [stint], enjoying the car, pushing hard,” Russell told Sky F1 after the race.

“Some questionable defending from Charles at points. Just couldn’t get past. It was a little bit frustrating, just didn’t quite have the edge to get past him in the corners I needed.

“But in the end it didn’t really change my race. I think had I got past him earlier, I would have probably pitted even earlier, still being caught out by the Safety Car.

“So, enjoyed the weekend, great to see the fans. It was an incredible atmosphere, had my family here, they really enjoyed the weekend. Shame not to be on the podium, but all in all, it was a good one.”

While it was far from an ideal race weekend for Mercedes who could not find an answer to defeat their customer team McLaren, they did still manage to extend their advantage over Aston Martin in P2 in the Constructors’ standings, their buffer now 22 points.

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