George Russell, Oscar Piastri talk about their late run-in in F1 Japanese GP, as they add on Fernando Alonso’s backing-up too.

It didn’t look like Mercedes will have much fighting to do in F1 Japanese GP considering the pace they had. But late in the grand prix, Russell – in particular – came alive on his tyres and started to hurry the cars ahead including teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The team at the request of Hamilton allowed for Russell to pass through in the bid to catch the cars ahead. And it worked eventually when the Brit passed Piastri for seventh and chased Aston Martin’s Alonso for sixth in the dying stages.

Before Piastri made a mistake which allowed Russell through, the Brit made a diving move on the Australian at the final corner. It forced the McLaren driver to cut the chicane as the move was looked at by the stewards, who termed it as a racing incident.

They gave points for and against as both Piastri and Russell agreed for no penalty. The smart move from Alonso to give DRS to the Australian eventually worked for the Spaniard too as he was able to keep sixth, finishing ahead of a McLaren and both Mercedes.

“It was smart from Fernando and I expected nothing less,” said Russell to TV media. That’s part of racing. As for the Piastri’s case, it was a late move, from my side. I was down the inside, made contact. I think there was enough room for us both to stay on the track. And he obviously continued.

“I would’ve been a little more upset if I finished the race behind him. In the end, nothing gained and nothing lost,” summed up Russell, with Piastri mostly concurring with the Brit about their clash and also what Alonso was trying to do there.

“I mean, I could tell Fernando was trying to keep there by the way he was using the energy,” said Piastri to media. “I think with how difficult it is to follow these cars, it is quite a good strategy, to stop a quicker car coming through. So, yeah, a few tough moments with George but in the end, I made a mistake and then he got past.

“So, disappointing to let that one slip, right at the end but just struggled a bit in general in the race. I mean, I think, it was probably a bit of a racing incident the first time, he finished in front of me anyways, so it was fine,” summed up Piastri.

Defending his move, Alonso added: “Obviously, I was not fully confident, you never know with the pace the others will do at the end of the race. With Oscar, maybe he was not having the top speed to really attack me.”

Here’s Russell passing Piastri:

Here’s how F1 Japanese GP panned out

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