Mercedes debrief talks reveal Max Verstappen ‘surprise’ at Las Vegas Grand Prix

Mark Scott
A close-up shot of Max Verstappen's front wing reveals substantial damage from Las Vegas Grand Prix race

Max Verstappen: Damaged front wing from George Russell collision

Mercedes technical director James Allison has revealed George Russell was taken by surprise by Max Verstappen’s actions during their Las Vegas Grand Prix collision.

Not for the first time this season, Verstappen and Russell traded paint and bits of bodywork on the neon-lit streets of Sin City, the Red Bull driver losing his front wing endplate and a chunk of performance as a result.

Russell did take full responsibility for the Turn 12 crash between the two drivers, but further discussions with the Mercedes team has since revealed there was some confusion as to why Verstappen chose to overtake Russell at this corner.

James Allison reveals post-race Mercedes talks with George Russell

Speaking to the F1 Nation podcast, Allison said: “We were chatting together as a team after the race, George was definitely looking to himself for that.

“What he was definitely surprised by was, for him, it didn’t make sense for Max to make the play at that corner because George would have probably had him on the DRS on the following straight.

“I think George was taking on the chin the fact that he should have been more aware of Max being there.”

On the five-second penalty Russell received from the FIA for causing a collision with Verstappen, Allison said: “I don’t think it was unfair. He was predominantly responsible for the tangling with with Max.”

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It was also put to Allison by F1 Nation presenter Tom Clarkson that Russell assumed the role of Mercedes “team leader” at the Las Vegas Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton made a shock Q2 exit in qualifying.

However, Allison did not necessarily see it the same way.

“I don’t think it really felt like that. But you know, George definitely got it all together,” Allison summarised.

“In the FP3/qualifying period, he definitely got himself in good shape because Lewis had perhaps looked slightly the stronger of the two the day before and that left Lewis definitely ruing his performance. But I think we were pretty sure that both would have strong races, just obviously Lewis from a more lowly grid slot.

“We didn’t quite anticipate the subsequent melee.”

Allison and co will now turn their attentions to the season finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where P2 in the Constructors’ Championship is on the line between themselves and Ferrari.

The Scuderia narrowed the gap to just four points after outscoring Mercedes by 16 points in Las Vegas.

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