George Russell not backing down from criticism of Mercedes

George Russell finished eighth at the first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019, and he has criticised his team for a key decision.

George Russell has hit out at his own team for the way in which they pitted himself and Sir Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix, after it was quickly discovered that the majority of the field were on the wrong tyres.

Following a red flag on the second lap of the race due to heavy rain, racing didn’t actually resume until only 40 minutes of the allotted three hours were remaining, making for more of a sprint race than a Grand Prix.

The race resumed with all remaining drivers on the full Wets, as the circuit was completely soaked; however, Sebastian Vettel and Nicholas Latifi quickly proved that the Wets were the wrong tyres to be on.

All weekend the drivers preferred the Intermediates to the full Wets, as it gave the drivers better grip and also maintained temperature considerably better.

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After almost immediately pitting for Intermediates, Vettel and Latifi were almost instantly lapping faster than the frontrunners, prompting chaos in the pits.

Teams rushed out into their pit boxes, with a number of sides double-stacking their cars.

Mercedes were one of the teams who opted to double stack, with Hamilton being first due to his on-track position then Russell.

Russell was absolutely furious with his side, as the Brit lost time sitting behind Hamilton in the pits.

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Had it not been for some excellent overtakes on the exit of Turn Six, then the 24-year-old would’ve finished outside the points rather than eighth.

The Brit demanded a “review” of the error by his team, in what he labelled a “very frustrating afternoon”.

“We need to review what went on,” said Russell.

“I was right behind Lewis and double stacking, I was just going to lose all the positions. There’s not really much more to say, very frustrating afternoon. I probably could have fought for P5.

“It was quite enjoyable out there, I made some good overtakes but we need to sit down with the team and see what we could have done better. That was probably, at the time, not the right thing to do.”

The conditions were incredibly difficult during the race and to his credit, Russell was one of the only drivers to manage any overtakes.

Drivers appeared to struggle overtaking due to the puddles and the visibility, resulting in the Mercedes driver believing things need to be changed at the Suzuka International Racing Course.

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“You didn’t know where the drivers were, you didn’t know where the puddles were, where the rivers were,” added the Brit.

“So it was literally just the visibility. I don’t know whether with these new cars, they bring up more spray.

“Obviously, there’s been so many more improvements with the racing, perhaps this is one of the downsides, who knows? But for sure the rivers here in Suzuka Circuit need to be improved because they’re the exact same as they have been for about four or five years now in the same spots.”