George Russell was left “kicking” himself after the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday, with the Briton having blown his chances of a surprise podium after leaving the circuit at Mirabeau.
The 25-year-old started the 78-lap race from eighth and remained there for what seemed like an eternity, until the rain suddenly arrived.
The late downpour worked massively in Russell’s favour, with him having ran deep into the race on his initial set of tyres, meaning he switched straight to Intermediates.
With the majority of the field having already pitted before the shower, Russell gained several places, to the extent where he rose from eighth to third.
Russell looked set for a shock podium at the Circuit de Monaco, until a brief lapse in concentration saw him lock-up at Mirabeau on his out-lap, resulting in him going down the escape road.
Lance Stroll was already in the same escape road trying to reverse out, before Russell blocked his exit.
The error saw Russell tumble from third to fifth, whilst he also re-joined the circuit in an unsafe manner.
Russell drove straight into the path of Sergio Perez as he attempted to get back onto the track, resulting in a heavy collision between the pair.
Russell somehow escaped without damage although, he was awarded a five-second time penalty for the incident.
With Charles Leclerc having been comfortably beyond five seconds behind, Russell remained in fifth at the end of the race.
Fifth could’ve so easily been third though, with the Mercedes driver knowing that he was “almost guaranteed” his first rostrum of the season.
“It was an exceptionally boring race until the rain came down. It sort of came out of nowhere as it wasn’t really on the forecast,” Russell said.
“I’m really kicking myself because P3 was almost guaranteed after not pitting.
“I came out, there was a yellow flag, I backed off, and as soon as I touched the brakes, I locked up and followed (Lance) Stroll up the escape road.
“That’s probably a lesson, that when you’re not on it and you’re not focused, you make those mistakes.
“Probably if there wasn’t a yellow flag there, I would have just been focusing more, and I wouldn’t have gone off and cost the team a comfortable P3.”
Russell was clearly furious with himself after making the error, with team principal Toto Wolff having been forced to speak to the driver over the team radio, in a bid to calm him down.
“I was venting frustration at myself,” said Russell. “Nothing really more than that.
“As a driver, you sometimes want to get this frustration out of your body, which maybe is not necessarily easy for everybody to understand why.
“I actually learned that my mistake wasn’t actually shown on television until a replay after the race. Rejoining was the prime mistake but I don’t think it was actually clear to many people that we were effectively P3 on track and I lost it.
“I had a lot of people texting me saying ‘Well done for P5’, not realising that I had made a big mistake which cost me a P3.”