George Russell accepted blame for his collision with Max Verstappen at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix but added he came off worse and even claimed it cost him a podium.
Russell was running fourth, ahead of both Red Bulls before Verstappen made an opportunistic but perfectly legitimate dive up the inside of the Mercedes at Turn 11.
Verstappen had successfully completed a similar overtake on Zhou Guanyu earlier in the race, but on Lap 25 Russell didn’t see the car approaching, turned in and damaged the Dutchman’s front wing.
“You have the long straight afterwards, the corner was his and even if I saw him engaging the corner, I would have just overtaken him straight back with the DRS,” Russell told Viaplay after the race.
“It’s one of those corners, you’re not even looking in your mirrors once you start braking, you can’t look at the corner and look in your mirrors at the same time.
“So totally my fault, was in my blind spot, wasn’t expecting it and paid the price once again.”
Russell: Sums up our season
Russell was just 0.008 seconds away from a front-row start in qualifying, but despite running as the stronger Mercedes driver throughout the weekend he actually finished behind Lewis Hamilton in Las Vegas.
The Verstappen collision earned him a five-second penalty, but the resulting safety car for debris on the track also allowed cars around Russell to score a cheap pitstop.
The hefty contact left both cars damaged, and though Verstappen went on to become the first victor on The Strip Circuit, Russell couldn’t replicate that success and dropped to eighth at the chequered flag.
That meant he finished behind Carlos Sainz, while Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc snatched second on the last lap from Sergio Perez by just 0.171s so Mercedes‘ margin in the race for second-place in the constructors’ championship has been cut to four points.
“It sums up the story of this season, a total missed opportunity,” Russell added. “Once again a very straightforward podium was on the cards.
“So it was a shame then for the safety car because even though we had more damage, we still would have finished P3, I’m just pretty demoralized, disappointed with with how it all ended up.”