George Russell scolded for Pierre Gasly incident

George Russell went on to finish eighth in Japan.

George Russell picked up some criticism from fans on social media after his close call with Pierre Gasly during practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

The drivers had not had any dry running before FP3, as both practice sessions on Friday had been rain affected.

Mercedes completed 55 laps over the course of the two sessions, both of which necessitated the use of either Intermediates or extreme Wets.

Russell finished fastest in FP2 ahead of team-mate, Sir Lewis Hamilton, after an extra half an hour was added on for what was supposed to be a Pirelli tyre test.

READ: ‘The worst decision’: George Russell slams Mercedes in Japan

That could not take place because of the rain, but the additional time was retained, giving the drivers more vital preparation for Sunday’s wet race.

Qualifying was set to be dry though, so it was paramount that the racers got in as many preparatory laps as they could in the final hour of practice.

They were all scrambling for track space as a result as they tried to find some clear gaps to set laps, and Russell tripped over Gasly at Turn 10.

The 24-year-old remarked over the radio that he almost hit the Frenchman, but he picked up some negative comments online.

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Among the criticism were accusations of “terrorism” against Mick Schumacher in Singapore last weekend.

Russell went on to qualify eighth, with Hamilton in sixth as the two Mercedes drivers tussled with Alpine.

In wet conditions, both Hamilton and Russell gained a position on the start when Carlos Sainz crashed, and after the red flag period, the seven-time champion tried to pass Esteban Ocon for fifth.

READ: ‘Get out of the way’: George Russell’s near-miss with Pierre Gasly at Suzuka

Russell was jumped by Sebastian Vettel after the German’s quick decision to fit Intermediates back on the car, and the younger Mercedes driver was passed on the final lap by Fernando Alonso after the Spaniard came in for another set of tyres.

The two-time champion then passed Vettel on the finish line to claim P6.

Max Verstappen’s win earned him his second consecutive world title.