Mercedes driver George Russell has always been a fan favourite, ever since he entered the sport as a rookie at Williams.
Always polite, entertaining and a key part of the young core of the F1 grid, the young Brit has always had a golden reputation amongst Formula 1 fans.
The Mercedes driver is starting to see a change in the fan’s opinions now, with his Mr Perfect reputation taking somewhat of a hit his season, following a number of incidents where the blame has been pointed at Russell.
Social media has begun poking fun at Russell, labelling him as a race ruiner, with this weekend’s Turn 1 collision with Carlos Sainz, which forced the polesitter to retire, being the final straw for many fans.
The Brit tried to move down the inside of Turn 1 in Austin this weekend, driving into the side of Sainz’s Ferrari, causing terminal damage for the Spaniard and a 5-second penalty for Russell.
This is not the first controversial incident that Russell has been involved in, clipping Sergio Perez in Austria and France, and having collisions with Schumacher and Bottas in Singapore.
Most memorably the Brit was the driver to make contact with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu at Silverstone, sending the Chinese driver skidding on the roof of his car towards the barrier, where he eventually got stuck upside down.
Fans have also criticised Russell for his lack of accountability, with the Brit seemingly always finding a way to deflect the blame over the team radio for collisions.
Some of the criticism is unfair however, with some of the accidents not being entirely Russell’s fault, for example at Silverstone he was boxed in from the start, leaving him with nowhere to go without clipping the Alfa Romeo in front of him.
The Brit is rapidly losing popularity, with his most recent Instagram post from the Circuit of the Americas receiving an astonishing 1262 comments, compared to only 476 from the day before, with most of these comments being angrily directed at Russell for his latest incident which took another driver out of the race.
Russell will be hoping for some cleaner racing at the final three races of the season, with his reputation currently damaged, with the Brit understandably keen to show fans that this isn’t the Russell they should expect, and that these incidents are not to become the norm.