F1 analyst Peter Windsor has strongly criticised George Russell for his involvement in the collision with his teammate Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Windsor is now calling for tougher penalties to be implemented in future incidents.
The collision occurred on the Circuit de Catalunya straight during Q2, with the cars reaching speeds of over 180mph.
Although Hamilton only suffered minor front wing damage, the incident has ignited a debate within the sport.
Mercedes attributed the collision to a “miscommunication,” and the FIA cleared Russell of any wrongdoing after considering mitigating circumstances during their investigation.
However, Windsor believes that Russell was fortunate on two counts. Firstly, the incident did not result in a more severe accident, and secondly, he received only a warning for his actions.
During a recent live stream on his YouTube channel, Windsor expressed his dismay, stating: “It was absolutely the worst thing a racing driver can ever do. To pull out on the straight when somebody else is going much quicker than you and about to pass you and hit them… I mean, that’s how we lost Gilles Villeneuve.”
Windsor further expressed his surprise at the leniency of the penalty, saying, “I’m absolutely staggered that George didn’t get a much, much stiffer penalty.”
He believes that incidents like this require stronger penalties to clearly establish the boundaries of acceptable behavior on an F1 racetrack.
Windsor emphasized the need for action, stating, “I just think somebody needs to be doing something about that. It’s inexcusable. Why wasn’t he penalized more?… Nobody does it intentionally. If you do, you shouldn’t be in a Formula 1 car in the first place.”
The FIA, according to Windsor, should set a stronger precedent to deter such incidents from recurring.
He speculated that Russell’s influential position within the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) and his positive reputation might have influenced the relatively lenient penalty decision.
However, Windsor asserted that intentionality is not the point, as no driver should engage in such dangerous manoeuvres.
“I just think somebody needs to be doing something about that. It’s inexcusable,” he said.
“Why wasn’t he penalised more? And I think that’s possibly to do with the fact he has got quite a senior position with the GPDA and he is very well thought of.
“I think that’s probably why George does get away with it because he’s got this senior position now and they think, ‘Well, you know, he wouldn’t do it intentionally’.
“And that’s not the point. Nobody does it intentionally. If you do, you shouldn’t be in a Formula 1 car in the first place.
“It was obviously a misunderstanding. But they [the stewards] seem to say ‘oh, well, because Mercedes and it was split between the two Mercedes drivers because it was a miscommunication. It was unfortunate, but we’ll try and make sure it doesn’t happen again, slap on the wrist, completely wrong.’
“It’s actually even worse that it was his team-mate because in reality, he should have been looking in the mirrors even more.”
As Mercedes heads to Montreal for the next race, both Russell and Hamilton will be hoping to avoid any further miscommunications.
The team is aiming to solidify its position as the second-quickest team in the F1 hierarchy, following their double podium result in Barcelona.