"I was knackered at the end of the race" - George Russell looks back at the race-ending crash in 2023 F1 Singapore GP
George Russell believes lack of concentration on the final lap could have caused an error of judgment that made him clip the wall. Speaking to media, including Sportskeeda after the Singapore GP, the Briton lamented his errors and misfortunes during the race.
Running third in the race until the final lap, the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix champion was the ace contender for the win with Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris struggling to keep him at bay on older tires. However, a brush against the wall through the final corners of the final lap sent him into the wall. The marginal error didn’t just cost him a win but caused a dramatic retirement and promoted his teammate Lewis Hamilton onto the podium instead.
Processing his emotions after the race, Russell said:
“I’m not just going to brush it off, for sure not, but it's such a nothing of a mistake. It was, if I span off or had a lock up and ended up in the wall, you know I’d be feeling very different. But to clip the wall on the last lap is just, is just such a pathetic mistake. It’s why it feels so strange right now. It was probably the lack of concentration as I said, it was the last lap, I knew the opportunity was gone. And I guess you just stay on it, doesn’t matter what the scenario is. Yeah not a lot of positives.”
Explaining the scenario that unfolded, he added:
“I don’t know, it's very difficult. I was knackered at the end of the race. I put everything on the line there driving so hard and it was difficult because I wanted to manage my tires so that I had the best possible tires at the end of the race and that's why I kept asking my team 'tell me the lap time that was going to get me to the front at the end of the race’. Because I don't want to push half a second faster to have no tires left towards the end. On the flip side I had Lewis behind me pushing everything. So there were a few things to counterbalance, I felt confident, I felt good. As I said Carlos played it strategically perfectly. Lando also did a great job. Could have been such a different result if such a small change with that overtake on Lando. Wasn’t meant to be.”
While Russell was attacking Norris ahead, his own teammate was also lapping quicker than him. The Briton was in a difficult situation but a podium finish was a certainty in Singapore until his crash. According to the Mercedes driver, he was trying his best to manage his tires and have the advantage towards the closing stages of the race. He believes that marginal error eventually led to bigger consequences.
He felt it would have been a very different result if it weren't for a small error in judgment. Prior to him, Norris had kissed the barrier wall similarly but managed to escape. However, a different alignment and angle while clipping the barriers sent Russell into the wall. He felt the physically challenging and demanding race made it difficult for him to be able to process the whole scenario but believes that both Norris and Sainz drove well with the latter being very smart and strategic in his race execution.
George Russell feels the 2023 Singapore GP was a very strange race for him
Unable to remember the start where he ran his teammate Lewis Hamilton wide, George Russell was barely able to process his emotions as he spoke to the media after the race. He believes it was an eventful race where the Sainz managed the pace of the race very smartly. He felt he did well and tried his best to keep the pressure on the Spaniard. However, the safety car caught him out after which he had to chase both Sainz and Norris until the penultimate laps of the race.
Russell felt the Ferrari driver was very smart in using the DRS zones to get his former McLaren teammate to keep the Mercedes cars at bay. Had the Spanish driver not been strategically smart, a win was inevitable for the Briton. Sainz's tires were worn out and had Norris not gotten DRS from him it would have not helped him pull away.
Explaining the race along with the incident with his teammate at the start, Russell said:
“Yeah I kind of even forgot that happened but very strange race, with Carlos managing the pace for the whole duration. It was quite difficult to keep concentration because we were driving one and a half seconds off the pace. But it was only natural of him to do that with, let's say, the tyre advantage we had. If he went any faster it would have only given us the opportunity. We got fortunate with the safety car and that's when the race really turned on its head and got really exciting. I was really pushing flat out, but again Carlos did a great job to manage the gap with the DRS with Lando.”
“Very smart of him to do that. I had half a chance with Lando. Half a cars length different and I think we would have won the race, because I would have got ahead of Lando and then Carlos would have been stuck with no DRS and I would’ve flew by him. Instead we end the race in the wall and I have no idea what happened how that happened. Maybe lack of concentration, frustration, that was the lap and the opportunity was gone. One centimetre mistake and it clouded the whole weekend.
The Singapore GP retirement has been the second time Russell has crashed out of the race in the 2023 season. Although the Briton has had a competitive car, he has not been able to perform at the same level as Hamilton. Unlike the 2022 season where he had beaten the Mercedes champion, the 2023 season has been difficult for the 26-year-old. While the seven-time world champion is running third in the driver’s championship, the junior Mercedes driver is seventh.