‘If you want to watch idiots race, don’t watch F1’

Michelle Foster
George Russell intermediate tyres

George Russell intermediate tyres

George Russell feels if fans want to watch “chaos and carnage, and drivers being made to look like idiots” they can watch something other than Formula 1.

Russell is the latest driver to criticise the madness that was the Turkish Grand Prix with drivers slipping and sliding all the way from Friday’s first green flag to Sunday’s final lap.

Formula 1 arrived at the Istanbul Park to find a shiny new track surface, one that offered minimal grip in the dry and absolutely none in the wet.

There were incidents from the very start of the weekend to the very end with Russell adding to it as he crashed on his way to the grid, taking off his Williams’ front wing on the pit lane wall.

He was not at all impressed.

“The lap time varies by two to three seconds a lap, if you get the tyres working or not – it’s unbelievable,” he told Autosport.

“This weekend has not been really what Formula 1 is about.

“I’m sure the show looked great, and I’m sure I would have loved watching it from my sofa at home.

“It’s just been a lottery for everybody out there. I love driving in wet conditions, but this was just something else.”

He added: “I think everybody was so excited to come here, and from the very first lap in FP1, we just had absolutely no grip.

“The biggest factor, without a shadow for a doubt, was the new resurfacing.

“From what I hear and I understand, it all had to be done very last minute, and the Turkish corporation or whoever ran the race did a really good job to get everything done in time, and they were delayed by some really poor weather.

“It was like driving on sheet ice, and actually the times I went off the track onto the old concrete, I had much more grip than I did [on the track].

“The concrete apron in the pit lane, which is normally incredibly slippery compared to the track, had a hell of a lot more grip than the actual race track.

“I don’t think a single driver enjoyed these conditions.”

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But while the drivers didn’t appreciate the conditions, the fans did.

It added to the drama, leading to a mixed up grid and a first pole position for Lance Stroll who at one stage was leading the race by 10 seconds.

He eventually finished ninth while Lewis Hamilton, who had been more than a full pit stop behind the Racing Point driver, took the victory by 31 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez.

Russell says if fans want to watch that sort of thing, there are other racing series that are built on it.

“If you want chaos and carnage, and drivers being made to look like idiots, there are other categories and sports out there you can go and watch,” he said.

“Formula 1 is about the best cars, the best drivers, the best teams going to the best tracks, and showing what they can do. This weekend was not that.

“I’m sure I would have loved it from the sofa, but there’s got to be maybe a midpoint that I’m sure F1 can learn from, and we’re not just going here and rolling the dice week in, week out.”

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