Toto Wolff defends George Russell after ‘force his way through the wall’ criticism

Michelle Foster
George Russell after the Canadian GP

George Russell made "too many errors" in the Canadian GP

Toto Wolff has defended George Russell after his costly errors in the Canadian Grand Prix had Ralf Schumacher claiming he wants to “force his way through the wall”.

Lining up on pole position at a wet Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Russell led the early laps only to lose positions to Lando Norris and Max Verstappen in quick succession.

George Russell made ‘too many errors’ in the Canadian GP

Trying to hold off Norris, Russell out-braked himself which meant he went from first to third in the space of one corner.

Back ahead of Norris as the race played out, another mistake from Russell when he clipped the kerb at Turn 8 again allowed the McLaren driver to sweep back by.

Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff came over the radio: “Focus George, focus.”

Into the final 10 laps after a Safety Car restart following Carlos Sainz’s crash with Alex Albon, it was Russell’s turn to attack with Oscar Piastri his target.

However, making contact, Russell found himself the wrong way down an escape road which allowed his team-mate Lewis Hamilton to take a position off him.

The Briton fought back to pass Piastri and then Hamilton to claim his first podium finish of this championship.

He was left to rue his costly mistakes, saying: “I’m disappointed with myself. I made too many errors that set us back and cost us a chance of victory. I was really pushing the limits out there.”

Pushing too hard, says former F1 driver Schumacher.

“George’s speed is always there. But when it comes down to it, he wants to force his way through the wall,” he told Sky Deutschland.

Key takeaways from the Canadian Grand Prix

👉Canadian GP conclusions: Villeneuve v Ricciardo and Russell’s new nickname

👉Canadian GP driver ratings: Record low score for Sergio Perez horror show

‘On the one hand there was brilliance, then on the other…’

Russell’s team boss Wolff has defended his driver saying there was “brilliance” from the Briton during the Grand Prix.

But on the other hand, he accepts Russell’s attempt to pass Piastri was “too ambitious”.

“On one side there was brilliance in the race, and then on the other side, maybe he could have avoided [the mistakes],” Wolff told Sky F1.

“I think the pass [on Piastri] was never on in that corner.

“As a driver, what makes his overtakes good are that he takes a risk and he drivers very hard, and this one was maybe a bit too ambitious, cost a position, but he regained that afterwards.”

As for his radio message to his driver, he explained to the media in his post-race briefing: “Sometimes I talk to them.

“Yeah, giving a little bit of advice maybe that can be helpful. Hopefully helpful. I know him so well, I think I know what goes through his mind.”

Russell’s P3 marked Mercedes’ first Grand Prix podium of the 2024 championship with Mercedes on 123 points.

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