Martin Brundle defends George Russell for reckless decision

George Russell received two penalty points for rejoining the circuit unsafely at the Monaco GP.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Martin Brundle has defended George Russell following his collision with Sergio Perez during the Monaco Grand Prix, which saw the Mercedes driver’s podium hopes vanish.

Russell endured an odd Monaco GP, which he labelled as “boring” until the rain arrived in the closing stages.

The 25-year-old started the sixth race of the season from eighth and actually remained there for the bulk of the race, until drivers ahead of him started pitting to complete their mandatory pit-stop.

Russell was on an alternative strategy to the majority of drivers ahead of him, with the Briton’s plan having been to run deep into the race before pitting late on.

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The idea behind the plan was that it’d give Russell fresher and faster tyres in the closing laps, perhaps allowing him to make some progress through the field.

Russell’s plan to run deep into the race ended up being a stroke of genius, as the Briton was able to switch straight from his starting set of tyres to a set of Intermediates when the late shower suddenly covered the entire Circuit de Monaco.

It meant that Russell was effectively handed a free pit-stop, given that those around him had pitted for a second set of slick tyres prior to pitting again for Intermediates.

Whilst he started P8, Russell emerged from the pits on his Intermediates in third and on-track for a surprise podium.

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His hopes vanished on his out-lap though, as the former Williams driver locked-up and ran down the escape road at Mirabeau.

The error saw him drop from third to fifth, putting him behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Russell was obviously keen to rejoin the circuit as quickly as possible; however, he drove straight into the path of Sergio Perez.

The duo collided and yet somehow escaped unscathed, with the only damage having been to Russell’s race.

Due to having driven straight into Perez’s path, the FIA awarded Russell with a five-second time penalty for rejoining the circuit unsafely, something which ultimately didn’t stop him from finishing the race in fifth.

Following the incident, Russell received criticism for having not looked to see where the Red Bull driver was; however, Brundle has since jumped to the Briton’s defence.

Brundle revealed that the drivers “can’t see” to the side of their cockpits due to the HANS safety device, meaning Russell wasn’t able to turn his head to see where Perez was.

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“I didn’t clock it in commentary other than recognising that Mercedes were making some timely calls for both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, but having fitted intermediate tyres on the optimum lap 53 Russell could have stolen third place from [Esteban] Ocon if he didn’t have a lock-up down into the Mirabeau escape road,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports column.

“He would then take a five-second penalty for dangerously rejoining the track and taking a sizeable hit from the lapped Perez, but actually, there’s nothing else a driver can do other than join, accelerate and hope, unless you want to patiently sit there to see if a marshal will wave you back into a space.

“The drivers can’t see out of the side of the raised cockpits and with the HANS safety device connected to the crash helmet and very limited space they can’t turn their heads anyway. And mirrors are no good if your car is not on the racing line.”