George Russell says that the opening lap collision between himself and Lewis Hamilton at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix won’t impact their Mercedes relationship.
The pair collided at the entry to the first corner as Hamilton attempted to overtake his teammate.
In a similar way to the 2022 Belgian GP collision with Fernando Alonso, he came too far across to squeeze Russell tight to the apex of the corner, causing the pair’s wheels to collide. For the 38-year-old, his rear-right tyre flew off as he was beached into the gravel, whilst Russell had to pit to inspect the car dropping him down to 17th.
The remaining Silver Arrow did go on to show strong pace, recovering to fourth ahead of a Red Bull, Aston Martin and Ferrari, to salvage 12 points from Sunday although Russell was left wanting more.
“[I’m] Frustrated, because it was just a missed opportunity for both of us,” Russell said to media after the race. “We’ve got one goal and that’s to finish second in the Constructors’ Championship.
“We had a lot of discussions this morning about how we were going to work together, the fight wasn’t with each other, the fight’s with Ferrari. Fortunately, we still came up with more points from them this weekend.
“But listen, we’ll be fine, we’ve got a huge respect for each other, nothing was intentional from from either side.”
Russell appreciates Hamilton apology
Both Mercedes cars blamed each other, although Russell suggested that was simply a heat of the moment situation.
Speaking after the race, Hamilton did take fault for the incident and later posted on X, formerly Twitter, that it was his fault and that he takes full responsibility for the collision.
It’s not the first time the racing legend has held his hands up and accepted he has got it wrong, and Russell respects his humility and took some blame himself.
“I definitely appreciate him apologising for that, for sure,” the Mercedes man added. “As I said on the radio, every instance involves two people, and I definitely appreciate what he what he said.”