George Russell reveals Lewis Hamilton talks prior to Qatar Grand Prix collision

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Mercedes, on media duties.

Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on media duties pre-race.

George Russell revealed that he and Lewis Hamilton had spoken pre-Qatar GP about how they should approach the race start, with Russell’s wish of them both being on the podium quickly evaporating.

Russell shared the front row with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Hamilton launched from P3, but on the soft tyres compared to mediums for Russell.

Hamilton would use that grip advantage to take a look around the outside of his team-mate into Turn 1, but the result was disastrous as they made contact, sending Hamilton spinning out into the gravel.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton spoke start strategy pre-race

Hamilton has since taken full responsibility for the incident, one which saw Russell’s hopes of both drivers being on the podium go up in smoke, an ambition which he and Hamilton had discussed before the race.

“We spoke about it and from our side I said this morning, ‘I just want us both to be sat on that podium,'” Russell told Sky F1.

“My goal now is to try and get P2 for the team. And even I agreed, we spoke about Lewis going ahead at Turn 1. That as I said, it was just a very difficult, difficult situation.”

Russell was able to continue and recovered to a P4 finish, with Hamilton also making reference to this pre-race chat.

Of course, their Qatar GP did not go as planned, with Hamilton feeling the sadness for his part in that.

“Before the race, George was, we knew that we had different tyres, so he was like, ‘let’s just work together today’, so we were talking about just working together,” Hamilton told media post-race.

“And again, it was not our plan to come together, just really gutted for the team. We’ve all worked so hard to be in that position and just really sad for everybody for my part in it.”

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Mercedes’ communications chief Bradley Lord said that while the start was discussed between their drivers before the race, they still “can’t programme everything” to make it go to plan, with the goal now being to ensure that lessons are learned so that this situation does not arise again.

“We discussed it in the morning, so it was a scenario we’ve been through and obviously the different start tyre performance and things like that,” Lord told Sky F1.

“And then I think in the moment, they just all ran out of space. George obviously had nowhere to go, Lewis trying to take his line and we saw what happened.

“Unfortunately, these things can happen and you can’t programme everything even with a discussion beforehand.

“But, we’ll talk about it afterwards as we do and go through it and learn what we can to hopefully never have it happen again.”

The Qatar Grand Prix has overall still been a positive weekend for Mercedes, who have stretched their buffer over Ferrari slightly to 28 points in the battle to finish P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

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