Russell gives verdict on Lewis Hamilton Qualifying clash

The Mercedes driver was less than impressed that the incident with his teammate was allowed to happen

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George Russell has hit out at the poor team communication that led to a bizarre incident between himself and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during qualifying for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mercedes drivers were starting their final flying laps in Q2 but found themselves fighting over the same piece of tarmac on the run down to Turn 1, causing Hamilton to lose a chunk of his front wing as he attempted to overtake his teammate.

Russell failed to make it through to the top-10 shootout in 12th and initially apologised for his part in the clash, before describing it as an unacceptable “miscommunication” from the pitwall.

“Yeah, just massive miscommunication,” Russell told select members of the press, including Total-Motorsport.com. “I was just looking ahead trying to get the slipstream from Carlos [Sainz] and the next thing Lewis was there.

“We need to talk about how that happened, because we’re meant to be teammates, so that should never happen.

“It wasn’t one persons’s fault.”

Russell has since been summoned to the stewards for an alleged breach of Article 2b, which covers abnormal changes of direction but it’s unlikely he’ll be penalised.

‘I knew it wasn’t going to be a good day’

Russell is normally a master of qualifying, earning the nickname ‘Mr Saturday’ during his time at Williams, but looked on the back foot from the first lap at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Brit struggled in the tricky damp conditions at the start of Q1 and admitted the writing was already on the wall after making set-up changes that took his W14 in the wrong direction.

“The car wasn’t feeling OK every single lap of the session,” Russell added. “We made some small changes from FP3 to qualy.

“The car was bouncing a lot in the high-speed corners, and the corners that were flat and easy I couldn’t take flat.

“I couldn’t get the tyres working, it kind of all went wrong. From the first lap in Q1 I knew I wasn’t going to be having a good day – it was strange.

“You know, we should be capitalising on conditions like that, we usually do. The team is usually really good when it’s challenging but today, especially on my side, it just wasn’t there.”

The good news for Russell is that Sunday’s GP provides an immediate opportunity for him to bounce back, especially with the revamped track that should make overtaking easier down the start-straight into Turn 1.

“I think it’ll be better for passing, definitely more fun to drive,” Russell said about the track changes.

“Definitely more hopeful [about the race]. Unless we have any incidents we should definitely move forward.

“Just a bit disappointing just now.”

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