George Russell suffers ‘unusual’ off on way to Spanish GP grid

Henry Valantine
Mercedes driver George Russell on track at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

Mercedes' George Russell on track at the Australian Grand Prix. Melbourne, April 2023.

George Russell took to the gravel on his way to the grid for the Spanish Grand Prix, in a moment not usually seen before the race.

The Mercedes driver was taking in his pre-race laps to the grid and was testing the limits while heading to the downhill entry of Turn 5, but went too deep and ran into the gravel trap.

He was able to keep going and get around to his P12 grid slot as planned, but it was an abnormal sight for the drivers as they tested their cars prior to the race getting underway.

“That’s very unusual on the formation lap like that to be hitting gravel,” Nico Rosberg said in punditry on Sky F1. “It looked like in braking that he just braked too late and was trying his braking points for the race and just got it completely wrong there.

“He just locked up that front inside, so he was trying his braking point for the race and just had the brake balance too far forward, front tyres were still cold, just slightly locked up the front inside, and off he went, which is really not where you want to be.

“Then you always have to worry like, ‘oh my goodness, is my underfloor now damaged from those rocks?’ Because they very quickly damage some leading edges which will immediately cost you like one or two tenths of a second per lap.” recommends

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Russell was relatively calm about the incident afterwards though, stressing that the “car’s fine” and telling Sky F1 when he climbed out of his car when he reached the grid: “It’s the time to do it, just trying some white lines, because obviously when you’re racing you’re often not on the racing line.

“So not a lot of grip there, hopefully not too many of the other drivers saw what happened to me and that [doesn’t] happen to them on lap one.”