George Russell did ‘the absolute worst thing you can ever do’ against Lewis Hamilton

Mark Scott
George Russell ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Spain June 2023.

George Russell leads Lewis Hamilton prior to their contact in qualifying. Barcelona June 2023.

F1 analyst Peter Windsor has heavily criticised George Russell for his role in the collision with Lewis Hamilton in Spanish GP qualifying and has called for tougher penalties in future.

Russell and team-mate Hamilton came into contact with one another on the Circuit de Catalunya straight during Q2 at the Spanish Grand Prix, with Hamilton lucky to only escape with minor front wing damage despite the collision occurring at the speeds of over 180mph.

The Mercedes camp blamed “a miscommunication” for the accident, while the FIA cleared Russell of any wrongdoing as mitigating circumstances came to light during the stewards’ investigation.

However, Windsor believes Russell can count himself very lucky on two counts. The first being that he didn’t cause a much more serious accident and that he received only a warning for his actions.

“It was absolutely the worst thing a racing driver can ever do,” Windsor stated in a recent live stream on his YouTube channel.

“To pull out on the straight, when somebody else is going much quicker than you and about to pass you and hit them…I mean, that’s how we lost Gilles Villeneuve.

“Ok, Jochen Mass was dawdling and didn’t know which way he was going to go but, in principle, it’s the same thing. Very, very lucky that there wasn’t a massive shunt there.

“I’m absolutely staggered that George didn’t get a much, much stiffer penalty.”

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Windsor feels the FIA need to set a stronger precedent when incidents like this happen to make it absolutely clear that it is way beyond the limits of what is acceptable on an F1 racetrack.

He added: “I just think somebody needs to be doing something about that. It’s inexcusable.

“Why wasn’t he penalised more? And I think that’s possibly to do with the fact he has got quite a senior position with the GPDA and he is very well thought of.

“I think that’s probably why George does get away with it because he’s got this senior position now and they think, ‘Well, you know, he wouldn’t do it intentionally’.

“And that’s not the point. Nobody does it intentionally. If you do, you shouldn’t be in a Formula 1 car in the first place.

“It was obviously a misunderstanding. But they [the stewards] seem to say ‘oh, well, because Mercedes and it was split between the two Mercedes drivers because it was a miscommunication. It was unfortunate, but we’ll try and make sure it doesn’t happen again, slap on the wrist, completely wrong.’

“It’s actually even worse that it was his team-mate because in reality, he should have been looking in the mirrors even more.”

Russell and Hamilton will be hoping there will no more miscommunications in Montreal this weekend as Mercedes try to solidify their place as the second-quickest team in the F1 pecking order again following their double podium result in Barcelona.