‘Oh bugger’: George Russell interview derailed by post-qualifying incident

George Russell was celebrating his success in Melbourne when a raging fire broke out on a car, sending smoke billowing into the air.

Mercedes driver George Russell was speaking to Sky Sports after an impressive qualifying performance in Melbourne put him in P2 on Sunday’s starting grid, excitedly discussing his success.

Having literally run to the paddock to talk about the team’s return to the front row for the first time in the 2023 season, Russell had to halt his interview when a car burst into flames in the pit lane at the Albert Park Circuit.

The incident happened at the start of the Supercars event, which is one of the support races taking place around the track this weekend. 

As he entered the pits, the front left wheel of James Courtney’s car caught fire, engulfing the car by the time it reached a stop in front of the garages.

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Marshals rushed to put out the fire and, fortunately, helped the driver escape unscathed. 

“Oh bugger,” Russell exclaimed, as he paused his interview and turned to the screens to ensure the driver of the car was unharmed before he continued. 

Russell’s strong showing in Australia put Mercedes on the front row of the grid for the first time since the season started, as his teammate slotted in behind him in P3. 

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“It was really unexpected. The car felt alive and we got the tyres in the right window. The team have been doing an amazing job to get the most out of this car,” Russell said.

“We’ve seen the progress we’ve made compared to the first two races. That’s really exciting because we know we’ve got more in the locker to come and I’m feeling really comfortably in the car, really happy with the ,” he added.

While Mercedes accept it might be hard to catch Max Verstappen at the front of the field, the team’s real fight is with the Aston Martins in P4 and P6, as the two teams wrestle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.