George Russell has compared the crash that took him out of last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix to his race-ending shunt at Imola in 2020.

Russell was running second to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz when a Virtual Safety Car was triggered on Lap 44 to recover Esteban Ocon’s stranded Alpine at the pit exit.

Mercedes took advantage to pit both Russell and team-mate Lewis Hamilton for a new set of the Medium tyre, with the pair rapidly closing on Sainz and Lando Norris.

However, Russell was unable to successfully overhaul the McLaren driver, eventually tagging the wall on the approach to Turn 10 and crashing out, handing third to Hamilton.

The Briton says he was not willing to let the minor mistake that saw him depart empty-handed “cloud my whole weekend”.

“It’s not the first time I’ve had a difficult situation like that,” Russell reflected. “I think through everybody’s career you have ups, you have downs.

“Very thankful for having some difficult situations to bounce back from in the past because I think it helps me deal with these situations better. Probably 24-36 hours it takes to get over. You’ve always got to take the positives from a moment like that.

“Shov [Andrew Shovlin] called me Sunday evening and he said: ‘Look, the only reason we were in that position to fight for a win was because of how incredibly you had driven the whole weekend. The qualifying performance you did, the pace you showed in the race. You gave us that feeling of what it’s like to fight for victory again, so take that away from the weekend, not the ending.’

“So, you know, I’ll take the positives. Really pleased with the overall performance. I’m not going to let a mistake of 2cm cloud my whole weekend and I’d prefer to have a weekend like that than being off the pace and committing to a fortunate result.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14. 17.09.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 16, Singapore Grand Prix, Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore, Race Day.

Russell recounted enduring a similar situation at the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when the then-Williams driver crashed under the Safety Car from inside the top 10.

He was on course to pick up his maiden points in F1 when he dropped it on ageing Hard tyres, an error he admitted was a “stupid mistake” at the time.

“Yeah, I’d say my 2020 moment in Imola was a similar feeling, but it was Sunday night that was tough because it was such a long, fatiguing race, you know, an emotional rollercoaster of losing the position at the start, coming back through, just being stuck behind Carlos managing the pace,” he added.

“It was hot when you were stuck within a second of the car in front. You’ve got the hot air from the exhaust in front, you really feel that and it was mentally and physically draining. It was going to happen, it’s very annoying it happened on the last lap.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s Lap 1 or the last lap, we are pushing flat out to chase the victory. We are racers and we weren’t going to settle for a comfortable P2.”

Norris revealed immediately after the race that he had hit the exact same wall as Russell on the final tour, consequently damaging the steering of his McLaren.

Russell therefore believes it was not a coincidence that he followed Norris’ path and made contact with the wall.

“Yeah, I have definitely looked into the incident and, yeah. I’m not ever going to pass blame, at the end of the day I was the driver who hit the wall,” he acknowledged.

“But when I look back across all of the street circuits this year and all of my laps, every single lap I don’t feel I hit the wall once at those three circuits. The whole weekend in Singapore, millimetres from the wall lap after lap. My qualifying lap, I felt pretty razor-sharp that weekend and precise.

“And when Lando hit the wall, the thought process is so quick in your brain because I saw him hit the wall and in that millisecond I thought ‘Oh my God, he’s hit the wall’, and then I hit the wall. I think when you are so close to another car, you are sort of following their tracks.

“As a driver, you’re looking forward, we’re not looking left or right at the walls,” he continued. “The walls are in your peripheral and as I said, I was very close to Lando so either the distraction of him clipping the wall was a factor or I was following his wheel tracks and just hit it more.

“Or it was just a silly mistake, but it seems a bit too much of a coincidence. On every single lap I did that weekend, I didn’t touch it once and I touch it two tenths of a second after he did.”

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