George Russell’s ‘hot-headed’ reason for X-rated Lewis Hamilton radio complaint

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes team-mates George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix.

Mercedes team-mates George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell shed light on his X-rated radio message aimed at Lewis Hamilton in Spanish Grand Prix qualifying, with Esteban Ocon the unintentional protagonist.

“What the f*** was Lewis doing prepping that lap?” Russell vented over team radio during Q3, as Mercedes looked to continue their momentum from Canada where Russell claimed a second career pole position.

George Russell explains ‘hot-headed’ Lewis Hamilton complaint

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Russell would answer his own question after the session, which saw him claim P4 on the grid, a spot behind Hamilton in an all-Mercedes second row.

With polesitter Lando Norris and P2 driver Max Verstappen both benefitting from a tow, as our data analysis revealed, Russell and Hamilton had the same thought in mind, but both selected Alpine’s Esteban Ocon for the task.

So, with Russell feeling like Hamilton was impeding him in this mission, he momentarily lost his cool over the radio.

“Lewis was quite a long way ahead of me but we both had our eyes on the same driver for the slipstream for opening the lap,” Russell is quoted by

“So I was focusing on my mirrors not to impede Ocon, and next thing I looked up and Lewis was right in front of me trying to take the tow from Ocon.

“In the moment when you’re trying to get everything, you’re a bit hot-headed, but nothing gained nothing lost.”

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With Hamilton and Russell having each other for company on the second row, Hamilton is hoping that a two-pronged Mercedes attack could create options against McLaren’s Norris and Red Bull’s Verstappen, considering their respective team-mates are out of position, Oscar Piastri in P9 and Sergio Perez P11.

Asked if he thinks he can challenge for the win, Hamilton told media including “I think it would be very difficult.

“I think these two will be very quick, but position is everything so I think we’ll… You know, also there’s two of us, so hopefully we can apply pressure as a team to both of the cars ahead in order to maybe play out something in strategy and slowly climb up.

“I think it’s all about degradation and how you look after the tyres, so we won’t know until we get into that first run.”

As for how tyre degradation looked for Mercedes during the practice runs, Hamilton confirmed: “It was pretty decent. I don’t know if it was as good as Max’s, but I’ll try and make it better.”

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