George Russell put his signature on a Max Verstappen hat belonging to a fan at Spa-Francorchamps, and Mercedes could not let that one slide.
Interacting with the fans for selfies and merchandise signatures has long been part and parcel of being a Formula 1 driver.
That being said, with the popularity of Formula 1 booming and fans flocking to grands prix to pack out the grandstands, the drivers are busier than ever these days in that regard.
George Russell signs Max Verstappen hat
And as the Mercedes driver engaged with the sea of fans at Spa-Francorchamps where the Belgian Grand Prix had been taking place, Russell could be forgiven for not realising that he was scribbling his signature onto a Verstappen hat.
Verstappen of course is the star driver of Mercedes’ rivals and the runaway F1 2023 Championship leaders Red Bull, his Belgian GP victory making it eight wins in a row and 10th for the season, while ensuring Red Bull maintained their undefeated run with a 12th win from 12 in F1 2023.
Verstappen also won that weekend’s sprint for good measure, meaning Red Bull are undefeated in that discipline this season as well.
But, while Russell did not realise the identity of the hat he was signing, the fan holding it did, his expression of despair telling the story without a single word, and Mercedes sure realised as well.
Russell’s team then would take to social media to share the footage with the world in a light-hearted response, giving it their own spin.
Complete with a ‘something ain’t right’ soundbite, zoom-in on the horrified fan and ‘wasted’ caption, Russell was well and truly trolled by his Mercedes team. It was all in good fun though of course!
Hold up. Something ain’t right… 👀 pic.twitter.com/W0KA39mPQh
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) August 2, 2023
What made it even more ironic is that Russell had moments before exclaimed “oh, wrong person” when he saw a fan holding their merch with his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton’s face on the front!
On a serious note though, Mercedes will likely be glad of the opportunity to recharge over the summer break which Formula 1 embarked on after the Belgian GP, with F1 2023 having featured a further hit in their desire to return to the title scene.
With Verstappen now 125 points clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez at the top of the Drivers’ Championship, and Red Bull 256 points clear of their closest challenger Mercedes in the Constructors’ standings, it is going to take the greatest comeback story Formula 1 has ever seen for Verstappen and Red Bull to be denied the F1 2023 title double.