"No hard feelings," says Russell


George Russell says "no hard feelings" after teammate Lewis Hamilton admits first corner clash was "100 per cent" his fault.

As the pair tangled in the opening corner, one could easily imagine the smile slowly spreading across the face of 2016 world champion, Nico Roberg who was on duty for Sky Sports this weekend.

Naturally, as was the case in his day, both drivers blamed one another.

"Come on, what the hell," shouted Russell. "Two races in a row!"

"I got taken out by my own teammate," said Hamilton.

"He came from nowhere," added Russell. "I couldn't do anything."

As Hamilton climbed from his car and walked back to the pits - earning himself a reprimand and a hefty fine in the process - Russell pitted and went on to finish fourth, a clear indicator of what might have been for the German team.

Even before seeing a reply of the incident, Hamilton was taking responsibility.

"I just feel really sorry to my team," he told Sky Sports. "It was an opportunity today to get some good points.

"In the heat of the moment, I didn't really understand what happened," he admitted, "I just obviously felt the tap from behind.

"I don't think George probably had anywhere to go and, yeah, it's just one of those really unfortunate situations. I'm happy to take responsibility as the older one."

However, after finally seeing a replay of the clash he took to social media to accept full responsibility.

"I've watched the replay and it was 100 per cent my fault and I take full responsibility," he posted. "Apologies to my team and to George."

"It is frustrating because it was a big missed opportunity for us," said Russell at race end. "The incident was absolutely not intentional from either myself or Lewis.

"Visibility is so difficult in these cars, especially when you're racing," he added, "there are big blind spots.

"We've got one goal and that's to finish P2 in the Constructors' Championship. We had a lot of discussions this morning about how we were going to work together.

"I definitely appreciate him apologising," said Russell. "As I said on the radio, in every incident it involves two people, Lewis and I have huge respect for each other.

"Nothing was intentional from either side. I was gutted because of the result for the team. We've had one goal and we lost a big opportunity, but I still have full faith that we can achieve it."

Russell subsequently followed Hamilton's example and took to social media.

"No hard feelings," he posted on X. "We’re here to fight and maximise for the team. We misjudged it today, but our car was exceptionally strong and I’m proud of the whole team. Time to regroup and continue building off the strong pace in Austin."

"There's very little else to say," said the German team's trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin. "Neither driver had the intention of coming together.

"Lewis took full blame for the incident and George acknowledged the role that these sizeable cars can have in such moments. Ultimately both are upset that it's cost the team a lot of points."

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Published: 09/10/2023
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