George Russell unhappy with Lewis Hamilton ‘fighting’ him

George Russell has been caught in the Drivers' Championship by McLaren racer Lando Norris.

George Russell endured a frustrating Japanese Grand Prix, where he attempted a brave one-stop strategy at Suzuka.

Starting from eighth on the grid, Russell knew that he’d need to try something different to make a real impact on the leading places, given the pace of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

Russell actually dropped to ninth on the opening lap after being overtaken by Fernando Alonso; however, he quickly moved back into eighth after Sergio Perez pitted for a new front wing.

The King’s Lynn-born driver spent the opening laps closely following Lewis Hamilton, who ran wide on Lap 16 at Turn 9.

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This allowed Russell to try and make a move on his team-mate, something he attempted around the outside of Turns 13 and 14.

Hamilton held the inside but ran wide, forcing Russell off the circuit.

The 25-year-old immediately complained to Mercedes about Hamilton’s driving, and questioned who they were racing.

“Who do we want to fight? Each other, or the others?” Russell asked over the radio, in a visibly frustrated manner.

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The stewards did not the incident but decided that no investigation was required, after correctly viewing it as a racing incident.

Following the duo’s squabble, Russell quickly queried to Mercedes whether they should consider ‘Plan B’, something which turned out to be a one-stop.

This saw Russell run deep into the race on his Medium tyres, before pitting for the Hards at around half-race distance.

As everyone else in the top-10 was completing a two-stop strategy, Russell moved up to second once the those around him had completed their second stop.

As his tyres were older, he was quickly overtaken by both McLaren drivers and Charles Leclerc, before Hamilton caught him up.

The pair tried to work together to keep Carlos Sainz behind them; however, this simply held up the seven-time World Champion.

Mercedes eventually opted to swap their two drivers, moving Hamilton into P5 and giving him clean air for the closing laps.

Russell was then defenceless against Sainz, who showed strong pace in the final laps on his fresh tyres.

It meant that the Mercedes driver had to settle for seventh at Suzuka, something which saw him caught in the Drivers’ Championship by Lando Norris.

Norris and Russell are now equal on 115 points, although the ex-Williams driver is focusing on securing the team second in the Constructors’ Championship.

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He admitted after the race that the one-stop strategy was “definitely worth a punt”, even though it proved to be unsuccessful in the end.

“It was definitely worth a punt, a three-stop would have probably have been closer than the two-stop was but the one-stop gave us a chance for P3 if there was a safety car,” Russell told Sky Sports F1.

“The end result is a fair representation. Overtaking was difficult. It’s easy in hindsight. For me right now the goal is to secure P2 in the constructors’.”