Russell: Mercedes “clearly back” but Silverstone retirement “a real blow”

Adam Cooper
07/07/2024

George Russell admits that his retirement from the British GP was “a real blow” but that on a positive note the form of Mercedes over the weekend showed that the team is “clearly back.” Russell led the first third of the race from pole until falling back to fourth on a damp track when Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri all passed him.

However, shortly after heavier rain forced a switch to intermediate tyres in a double-stacked stop with his teammate, Russell began to suffer a water temperature issue.

He was eventually called in by the team to retire the car with 33 laps completed, while Hamilton went on to score an emotional victory.

“We had the car in normal dry circumstances to be one-two,” said Russell. “We’re clearly back, and I think we’ll be fighting for race wins more often now.

“Within myself and the car, I’m feeling good. But obviously, this is a real blow. Retiring from any race, let alone your home Grand Prix, and when you had the car to win. We’ll have another go.”

Wet conditions complicated the race for Russell

Russell admitted that things became very tricky when the rain first came, and he was leading the pack.

“McLaren was super fast during that period,” he said. “It was difficult, but I wasn’t too flustered, because I knew the race was going to be long. Really surprised there’s been no safety cars, but I knew we had the pace in the car.

“It’s always difficult when you’re the first out there. I knew it’s going to be a long race, and sort of wanted to be patient.

“We were still in the fight, but 10 laps before the failure, I knew I had problems. I was losing power, and then water failure, no water to the engine.”

“As soon as I went back out [after the stop], I was losing power. So I knew from that point on, the race was gone.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted it hadn’t been an easy race.

“It was difficult,” the Austrian said. “We were really controlling the pace at the beginning, and that was very encouraging.

“And then it started to rain, and you could see the massive performance that McLaren had, and they were simply in their sweet spot of the of the of the tyre.

“But we came back, and then under good conditions, I think we had it under control. It’s just a shame that we DNF’d with George, he had the pace and letting him down here with a with a water leak, it’s just not great.”

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