Mercedes’ George Russell has rued “tough” 17th placed finish at 2023 Dutch Grand Prix.
Russell began the race in third position but quickly lost position to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso as rain quickly swept across the back part of the circuit, with many drivers pitting for intermediates at the end of the opening two laps.
Mercedes however left Russell out on track and he took the lead from McLaren’s Lando Norris at the start of Lap 3, but struggled for pace in the wet conditions and quickly conceded the lead to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez later that lap which forced him to pit.
Russell consequently found himself running outside of the top ten for much of the race and once track conditions dried, he switched to the hard tyre on Lap 17 under the Safety Car after Williams’ Logan Sargeant crashed on the previous lap.
Reflecting upon Mercedes’ disastrous gamble, Russell post-race admitted that he expected the rain to only last “just a few minutes,” and felt that he was able to “brave it out for another lap or two” which in reality proved the wrong decision.
The Brit subsequently recovered to the top five as other drivers were forced to pit again but a severe downpour forced everyone to pit again for intermediate tyres, only for the red flag to be deployed on Lap 64 due to Guanyu Zhou’s crash as Russell ran seventh at the time.
On the eventual restart on Lap 67, Russell overtook Norris through Turn 6 for seventh, only for the pair to make contact at Turn 11 with the Mercedes driver receiving a puncture, which ended his chance of points as he pitted and ultimately finished 17th in the classification.
Explaining where his race went wrong, Russell commented: “At the end, I was side by side with Lando into the chicane at the end of the lap, then we had contact. It cost a few points and it was a shame because we had such a fast car today, then our decisions on the weather went against us.”
Russell concluded that the race had been “tough” after having hoped to fight for a podium finish at the start, but felt that he rather had “a fast car and a bad day than the oppposite,” in a positive about his car’s performance.
Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director, Andrew Shovlin echoed Russell’s sentiments as he iterated that the team “can take encouragement” in their “strong” race pace and believes that the team are “going in the right direction.”