George Russell suffered a massively disappointing Singapore Grand Prix, despite having shown good pace across Free Practice at the Marina Bay Circuit.
Qualifying was a nightmare for the British driver, who was eliminated from Q2 after setting the 11th fastest lap-time.
With overtaking known to be difficult at the Singapore venue, Mercedes opted to fit Russell with a new power unit, which saw the Brit start the wet Grand Prix from the pitlane.
The opening phase of the race was very uneventful for the 24-year-old, who failed to make progress through the field on the Intermediate tyres.
With the Silver Arrows driver seemingly stuck at the back of the pack, he decided to be a “hero” and be the first person to ditch the Intermediates and risk a set of Mediums.
It was immediately clear that this wasn’t the right call, as he performed an unbelievable drift at Turn Three as grip was non-existent.
The Mediums were several seconds slower at first; however, Russell eventually became the fastest driver on the track, which led to everyone else pitting for slick tyres.
A Safety Car to rescue Yuki Tsunoda’s crashed AT03 allowed Russell to catch the field, and to his pleasure, he overtook a few people instantly.
The Brit was then involved in a collision with Mick Schumacher which resulted in a puncture; however, it was Russell’s fault.
The Mercedes driver oddly cut across the German, resulting in the clash.
This dropped Russell to the back once again, where he was eventually pitted for a new set of Soft tyres so he could claim the fastest lap, meaning Ferrari claimed a point less.
Russell revealed after the race that he risked the Mediums after being in “no man’s land”, and that he’s certain he gave Schumacher “plenty of room”.
“We were in no man’s land, to be honest, but potentially it was, because at the restart we were flying, overtook two or three people on one lap after the Safety Car,” said Russell.
“Obviously I had the tangle with Mick. I don’t know what happened there, I felt like I left him plenty of space.
“We would have probably finished in the points because we were flying. Obviously got the fastest lap at the end by almost two seconds.
“Pleased the issues from yesterday in FP1 had been resolved, and I guess a bit of confidence restored that I haven’t lost it and I didn’t qualify three seconds off the pace due to a lack of talent or whatever. But such a shame, we had a car to win this week.”
The weekend was looking so promising for the Brackley-based team, but they once again failed to deliver in the end.
Sir Lewis Hamilton finished ninth after crashing during the race, which meant Mercedes claimed just two points from the Singapore GP.
It means that the Germans are now 69 points behind Ferrari in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship, with just five races remaining.
Russell is “proud” of the “progress” Mercedes are making but admitted they “slipped up”.
“We are making loads of progress as a team that I’m proud about,” said Russell.
“We are here to win races. Points are always great, we’ve had a very good run of results and this is probably the first weekend as a team, bar Silverstone, that we slipped up, myself included.”