George Russell had a scare after embarrassing radio call from Toto Wolff in F1 Austrian GP, as the trio reflect on solid outing.

Both Russell and Mercedes were all set to be content with third in F1 Austrian GP until the magical moment arrived for them when Max Verstappen and Lando Norris made their inevitable collision. It was coming for few laps and it eventually happened.

Their loss aided both the Mercedes cars with Russell securing his second F1 win, while Lewis Hamilton ended up fourth ahead of Verstappen. Even without the dramas between the leaders, it was an eventful outing for both the Mercedes drivers.

While Russell hung on to his place, Hamilton was forced to give up to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after overtaking by going off in Lap 1. Before giving up, the two Mercedes drivers did have a back and forth fight but the former prevailed against the latter.

Post the position give up, Hamilton was handed a 5s time penalty for crossing the pit entry white line. Additionally, he had damage which derailed his race, but Russell did not have any problems as such to secure the win despite late charge from Oscar Piastri.

“It feels really great to be honest,” said Russell, who feels they got the win that they missed out in Canada. “These last three races as a team, we’ve really turned it up. I feel that Montreal was probably a victory that we missed out on and we ended up finishing P3. It was a deserving P3 and we got the victory.

“So it’s funny how this sport turns around and just credit to all the team for all the hard work they’ve done. Such huge progress since the start of the year. It’s a track I enjoy. The last couple of years have been very difficult for us as a team. And we didn’t have high expectations going into Austria. But we ended up qualifying P3.

“And we’ve been in that mix. And as I said, we were fighting for the podium. I think realistically, we still probably have the third quickest car behind Red Bull and McLaren. But the last three races, Lewis and I have been in that P3 spot. So, you know, we’re really getting the most out of it. And sometimes, racing, it goes your way.”

Russell ran a different strategy which didn’t worked that well for him or brought anything different, but he stuck on it and saw it through. He had to get through the fight against Hamilton, and had to fend off backmarkers too when he was in the lead.

There was a brief scare when Wolff shouted on the radio about a potential win, but all was well eventually. “It was very windy out there, and I think the car was feeling a little bit strange,” said Russell. “On my laps to grid, we checked everything, and everything was fine. But the pace felt strong. I had Lewis attack me early in the race, but then once I got back past him, I got a bit of a gap to Carlos.

“I knew Oscar was going to be quick, and he sort of came a little bit out of nowhere towards the end of the race on those Hard tyres. I thought he was going to catch me, to be honest, but I think catching is one thing, overtaking is another. So I had Carlos behind me for 10 laps in my DRS, and I was also behind Carlos for about eight laps in his DRS, and overtaking wasn’t straightforward.

“So I knew, I just sort of said to myself, do what you do best, no heroics, and you’ll win this round. I think the difficulty was we were approaching a lot of back markers and we were interacting a lot with them. And if you get fortunate with the position, you get the DRS into Turn 1 and then into Turn 3 and into Turn 4 and you can gain six tenths.

“If you’re unfortunate, you could maybe lose six tenths. So you could have a 1.2 second difference just on where you catch the back markers and when there was only two seconds between Oscar and I, that was probably the most nerve wracking. But yeah, nothing more really to say than that. For me it was pretty difficult.

“I was just trying to focus on just maximizing my driving, to be honest. Marcus, my engineer, said three laps before, they’re fighting really hard and we can win this. And I said, look, we need to sort of secure P3 first, let me drive. And then when I got into the lead, I knew it was going to be a challenging last six laps.

“My tyres were difficult. That VSC helped marginally because my tyres were overheating. And that just allowed me to cool them down. And then suddenly I had Toto screaming in my ear, ‘you can win this’. And I almost crashed when he screamed into my ears. It was that loud. But I think it just goes to show the passion that we all share.

“And it’s obviously been a tough couple of years for us. It feels great to be back on the top step,” summed up Russell. His team boss Wolff echoed the Brit’s sentiments regarding the embarrassing radio call from him, but nevertheless, it was a win that they wanted desperately especially considering the years they have had.

“I know the drivers pretty well and what they need at times to encourage or to refocus, because I spend so much time with them,” reflected Wolff to media. “I know the psychology. But this one is the single dumbest thing I’ve done in 12 years at Mercedes. I will be forever ashamed by this because you look at where you message the driver.

“You don’t do it under braking or in high speed corners. But I didn’t look on the GPS where he was, I just saw these two taking each other out and we anticipated it, and I emotionally pushed the button and said ‘we can win this’. I could have taken him out with this message. Imagine how that would have felt. I’m emotional.

“I enjoy us doing well and I enjoy seeing Lewis and George doing well, and it was just getting carried away with that situation. I think that is what he said afterwards. But seriously…embarrassing. Looking at the race, on pace, we were the third quickest car and we’ve been this for the last three weekends, and that is very encouraging to see that upward trend and the consolidation of the trend.

“It is just good to have the win in the pocket this year. It means there are four teams that have one races this year and it has been just one year – 2023 – that we haven’t won a race. That is good to know and there is certainly big momentum now in the team to go to a point where we are able to fight on real performance for the win, and I think we will be,” summed up Wolff.

While there was joy for Russell, it was not so much for Hamilton even though he finished fourth. As noted, he suffered damage early on probably due to riding over the kerbs on Lap 1. It eventually hampered his running and subsequently his results too.

“It was one of these bad days,” said Wolff. “A decent start at then at Turn 1, Lap 1 – giving the position back was a harsh thing but it was pretty clear that we would be getting a 10-second penalty if we didn’t. Then it started to spiral. He pushed very hard on pit entry, you could see how hard he pushed and then the next penalty came about.

“On top of that, he had floor damage because of the kerb ride which I guess most people had, but his was extensive – it was two-and-a-half tenths in parts that broke off on the car.
There is no reason to be angry about it or upset about it.”

Hamilton greeted Russell on the way to the podium and under the podium too. While he was certainly disappointed by his run but was happy that Mercedes could take the win. “A big victory for George and the team,” he said to media. “This is an amazing result. On my side, we got good points. I’m not really quite sure [about the damage].

“I think Turn 1 bit of damage and then the floor is just falling apart. I don’t know when I got the damage from that. From my side it’s not that different. But George as you can see he’s doing pretty well. So that’s a huge boost for us.”

Here’s win for George Russell:

Here’s Toto Wolff radio call:

Here’s time penalty for Lewis Hamilton:

Here’s Oscar Piastri on catching George Russell

Here’s how F1 Austrian GP panned out

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