George Russell said the incident with Antonio Giovinazzi was his biggest one in F1 in Belgian GP as he credits the Halo while is worried about tyre flying.
Russell did not have a great start in F1 Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps as already on his way to the grid, he had an off at Turn 12. The Brit admitted that the Williams did not feel like a great car to drive around one of the demanding circuits.
He lost places at the start as well as he chased the Alfa Romeo Racing of Antonio Giovinazzi, who had a better run. The Italian was catching Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and was in his DRS range on Lap 9 when he stepped a bit too much.
He went on the kerb and spun onto the barrier, which threw him back on the circuit as his rear wheel flew on to hit Russell, who arrived at the spot and only had split second to brake as hard as possible and save himself from the flying tyre.
“A disappointing ending to my race,” said Giovinazzi. “I was pushing a lot to keep within DRS range of Sebastian [Vettel] and the car just snapped on the exit. I was on the limit and when you’re there, sometimes mistakes can happen.
“I feel sorry for the team as they deserved a good result this weekend, and of course also for George [Russell] as his race was compromised as well, although I couldn’t do anything about that. There are still some positives I can take from this race.
“I had another really good start, I made up a few places and I was able to be in a fight with the Ferraris, so we can build on that.” For Russell, it was his biggest and scariest crash in F1 as he credited Halo which would have saved him from the flying wheel.
The Brit, though, is worried for that as the way the car bounced and the tyre flew, it is still something which F1 needs to work on. “I am all OK, I saw Antonio hit the wall and I had a second to decide whether to go left or right,” he said to media including Racefans.net, The Race, Motorsport Network, BBC and more.
“I saw him coming out of the wall and saw him staying slightly to the right, so there was space to the left but then one of his rear wheels came across and hit by car, so I was trying to go to the left but was hit by it then. It was split second and it was pretty scary to see a massive rear tyre flying across the circuit.
“I had no idea where it was going to go, so thankful for the Halo because obviously even if it was heading towards me, I would have been safe. We are lucky to have that system. For me, what’s surprising is, that how it doesn’t happen more often because the force that we hit the barriers, you’ll need a pretty incredibly impressive [barrier] to hold it on.
“Obviously, that’s what we need to work towards because the reality is that, unfortunately, it hit my car, but it can hit a marshal or somebody in the crowd, that’s the most important thing. Year on year, F1 is taking massive steps on safety, from every incident you learn the limitations but there’s always more to do.
“But yes, it was definitely the most dramatic incident I have had in F1, until so far I have only had couple of off but it was the biggest crash I had,” summed Up Russell, who added that he received messages from his family who couldn’t be there due to COVID-19, while stating that he didn’t need to see the doctor as the impact was not that heavy.
Here’s where you can watch the incident in full: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fadZPVYQxo
Here’s how the F1 Belgian GP panned out