Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean both leapt to the defense of George Russell after the Williams driver said he made the biggest mistake of his career crashing out of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Russell was in 10th place and looked set to have a good chance of scoring the first point of his career during the Safety Car period caused by Max Verstappen’s retirement, but crashed out when trying to warm his tires while the race was neutralized. The 2018 Formula 2 champion apologized to his team and said the error was even more frustrating given the few chances Williams gets to score points.
“I feel like a number of times this year because I’ve not been in a position to fight or potentially been a bit too conservative and I was pushing like hell from the start to finish,” Russell said. “And under the Safety Car I was giving it absolutely everything to keep the tires in and really trying to find the limit, and there’s absolutely no excuses. I hit a small bump as I changed gear, and I was already in the wall before I could save it. Just absolutely gutting.
“It’s probably the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my career. Kicking yourself even more because previously in junior series if I were to make a mistake and lose a race or lose a victory you know you go to the next one and you’re in that position again.
“The team did an amazing job this weekend. There’s a lot of things to take away that were positive to be in that position and we were in that positions as we were aggressive and didn’t leave anything on the table. It’s what got us there in the first place and also the reason it ended as it did.”
Posting on Instagram, Russell wrote: “I’ll never forget this day, this mistake. I’ll learn from it, be stronger for it. I’m so sorry, to the whole team. No excuses.”
The social media post drew a reaction from six-time world champion Hamilton, who replied: “George, you were giving it your all. It’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to feel the pain. I’ve made more than I can remember. You’re great bud. Keep your head up and keep pushing, on to the next one!”
And after also crashing out behind a Safety Car for Haas in Baku two years ago, Grosjean also offered words of support to the young British driver.
“Man, I know the feeling,” Grosjean wrote. “Will take some time to forget it, but what you do is mega. Keep pushing.”