Sebastian Vettel sympathised with George Russell after the Williams driver narrowly missed out on his first World Championship point.
Russell has yet to finish in the top 10 during his Formula 1 career but it is through no fault of his own as Williams has consistently been one of the slowest teams on the grid.
But with lots of drivers out of the race at Mugello, Russell was on course to end his long wait for points until a second red flag essentially screwed him over.
Lapped cars behind him were able to unlap themselves following Lance Stroll’s heavy crash and unfortunately Russell was unable to find a way past Vettel for that final points position after a poor restart.
Russell said he “drove his heart out” in Tuscany and Vettel ultimately felt sorry for him.
“I knew [Russell was behind], I felt a bit sorry for him,” Vettel told Ziggo Sport.
“He drove really well, especially before the last restart. He was faster than us, he was more consistent and he managed his race well.
“I could see what he was doing. It will come for him. Poor soul! I think he really deserved a point. Obviously if I let him by because I think he fought harder than anyone else today, then you see the cord there and I’m probably hung.
“I really feel sorry for him. He fought his way up through the points and didn’t get the result he deserved.”
Russell saw Vettel’s kind words on social media and thanked him for what he said.
Appreciate it Seb 🙏 https://t.co/yvSjIzSGYL
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) September 13, 2020
Vettel also let his feelings be known on standing restarts after a red flag, saying it is unfair on some drivers depending on what side of the track you line up on.
“I don’t remember doing so many starts in one day, normally you only have one,” Vettel told Sky Sports F1.
“I have to say I am not a big fan of that rule [standing restarts after red flags] because if you are on the correct side of the track then it is a huge advantage compared to being on the dirty side of the track.
“We saw that in Monza already. Halfway through the race there is a lot of marbles off line and I just don’t think it is fair.
“Maybe we should focus on building the cars to overtake and not just throwing them into a lottery.”