Encouraged by Toto Wolff to keep his cool and hunt down Sergio Perez, George Russell says he “quite enjoyed” having his team boss’ voice in his ear at Paul Ricard.
Russell was incensed when, during the French Grand Prix, he attacked Perez for third place into Turn 8.
The Mexican driver was pushed wide and cut the corner, holding onto P3 ahead of Russell.
“Come on, guys. We need to do something. He went straight on,” the Brit told his pit wall.
His race engineer disagreed, telling his driver he was “not ahead”, and as Russell continued to rail against what he saw as a bad call, Wolff’s voice came over the radio.
“George, keep your head down, you can hunt him down,” said the Mercedes motorsport boss.
Russell did just that, getting the jump on a confused Perez after a Virtual Safety Car for Zhou Guanyu’s stricken Alfa Romeo came to an end on lap 50.
The former Williams driver finished third, handing Mercedes their first double podium of this season as Lewis Hamilton was P2.
Asked about his team boss’s intervention over the radio, Russell said he appreciated it.
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“I think emotions are high there for all of us,” he said as per Motorsport.com. “I felt like I did a mega move on Checo, and ultimately didn’t get to keep the position.
“We definitely had a bit more pace there. I quite enjoyed hearing Toto on the radio, but ultimately from my side, you’re going absolutely flat out.
“We’re in this together as a team, and when you’re sat in the car, sometimes you do feel a bit alone because we’re in the car, we’re doing everything we can and you don’t know what the engineers are looking at, the engineers don’t totally feel what we’re feeling within the car, and sometimes having these exchanges brings it a little bit closer together.”
From his side, Wolff says he felt like he had to step in as Russell continued to voice his unhappiness over the situation.
“I felt like he was a little bit stuck in a loop of being upset about the situation,” said the Austrian.
“As a driver, you are stuck in your little cockpit and I felt like he had the pace, he just needed to drop the upsetness and concentrate to beat him on track.
“In the end, it was just clever. There was a bit of confusion with the Virtual Safety Car and he just did it.”
Russell, however, still believes Perez cutting the corner when he first attacked him wasn’t right.
“I was pretty disappointed not to be able to keep that position,” he said.
“I felt it was my corner, I was down the inside, I had my front wheels in front of his rear wheels, and to the letter of the law, it was my corner, and he squeezed me a bit onto the kerb and he went wide, and kept his position.
“I guess we’ll talk about it after, but nevertheless, these things have a way of working themselves out, and the VSC restart was pretty tasty.”
Highlights from the French Grand Prix
Did Max Verstappen win the French Grand Prix, or did Ferrari and Charles Leclerc throw it away? Probably a bit of both.