George Russell was apologetic to Carlos Sainz after the F1 US GP incident, as Laurent Mekies and Toto Wolff added their bits.

A fast starting Mercedes’ Russell from fourth on the grid, got through turn one and a glancing blow with pole sitter Ferrari’s Sainz saw the Spaniard spin and eventually retire. The Brit was handed a five second penalty as a result, fifth place might have been better had it not happened.

However, the big loser was Sainz himself who had yet another retirement to face. Post-race Russell went to the Spaniard to apologise and also did so in front of the media. “Firstly apologies to Carlos, I’ve already been to see him and when I was attacking into Turn 1 and I saw he was on the inside with Max, I was expecting him to try to hold it around the outside with him,” he started.

“And as soon as I recognised he was trying to cut back underneath Max I had already committed to my breaking zone and contact was inevitable but as a driver you need to be aware of those possibilities of the cars ahead. Not a lot more to say,” summed up Russell. A pity for both but one must admire Russell’s honesty after the race as during the grand prix both blamed each other.

It was a tricky scenario as on watching, it can be seen that Russell is fighting with team mate Lewis Hamilton but Sainz tried to switch to inside of Verstappen which was same for the Mercedes driver. “If he was holding it around the outside then for sure I would’ve been fine but I was battling with Lewis not with the cars ahead,1” he said.

“As soon as you slow it down and try to cut underneath it was difficult. As I said I hold my hands up to that so there is not a lot more to say than that,” summed up Russell. Sainz himself was disappointed, but more frustrated really.  It is not the first time he has suffered a first lap incident in 2022 as he has been on receiving end largely.

“I think you don’t need many words,” said Sainz. “You just need the images to see exactly what happened, and the images speak for themselves. I was in the middle of a fight with Max into Turn 1 and suddenly one guy that wasn’t in the battle came from nowhere and bumped into me, so that’s it.”

A disappointment for Sainz massively after a weekend which had started so well and promised so much, it was over in seconds from pole. Ferrari chief Mekies, having spoken with him immediately after the incident was too very disenchanted with the outcome, particular after the pole he earned on Saturday.

“Of course, we have spoken, he is obviously disappointed because again it was a huge work to get to the pole,” said Mekies to media. “Such a good performance and such a good demonstration from the team, P1 and P2 after qualifying, so it is certainly true that we hoped it wouldn’t go that way. But he is a racer, we are all racers and it will be just more motivation for the next race.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes guru Wolff was philosophical too about the collision, harsh feelings about the penalty perhaps but the end result was points in their fight to grab second in the constructors championship. “I think the incident at Turn 1 is a racing incident that maybe, if I was a steward, George had a late break, a little understeering moment and then Carlos cut in quite brutally,” he said.

“I don’t know if Max had an energy thing or not. So, it is a shame but we need to take it on the chin, the five seconds, and the way he T-boned him we were surprised that it was not a DNF but we’ve just seen the front wing, it is massively damaged, not only the front wing endplate but also below and that’s the aero critical part so he had a car that was not capable of more.”

Here’s the collision between George Russell and Carlos Sainz: