Toto Wolff talks about calming down a frustrated George Russell in F1 Monaco GP, as the Brit admits of mistakes he made losing a podium.

For Mercedes it was fourth and fifth but it could have been better particularly for Russell where he was likely to finish third at one stage after rain arrived but a couple of mistakes left him only fifth with a time penalty. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was fourth ahead of him with fastest lap against his name but once more it came down to right strategy calls.

Both Russell and Hamilton benefited from the call but the former was still not happy especially with the mistake he made to lose podium. He was constantly on the radio kicking himself which pushed team boss Wolff to get on to calm him down.

“I just heard that that sounded new,” said Wolff to media. “I’ve done that before. It’s just encouraging or calming a bit. Sometimes drivers don’t see whether they’re quick or not, I think when you when you’re sliding all over the place and it’s terrible in terms of grip, and you have somebody telling you that you actually pretty fast”.

“And I’m doing this because the race engineers are flat out are looking at tyres and strategy. And in that respect, I’m just trying to support from that emotional side.  That is fair enough and quite encompassing”. Not just that Wolff also praised the team’s calls whether it was to give Russell and Hamilton different compounds at the start, notwithstanding getting the pit stop on the money.

“I think it’s about learning also for us,” continued Wolff. “And with George in eight, we could risk to take a gamble or do something different. We were quite surprised that many others went that way. So that’s why we split it. I think the timing of the pit-stops was almost spot on. Maybe a lap earlier would have been great”.

“But I think contrary to some others, we really got it right. And after the pit-stop we were third on the road. I think when you look in retrospect, that it’s always what you could have done better. And the strategists are always under fire. But the calls were right. I think there was a lot of debate that we had on the channels”.

“George was adamant it was intermediates so we could have done that a lap earlier. Lewis was really sure about it too. But the difficulty was that where we were sitting, exit swimming pool, but it was dry. And then I think we made the right call and eventually also got the Ferraris, I think they came in a lap later. So we did the right thing.”

With Wolff being the calming effect, Russell was about what could have and should have been perhaps in the battle for third spot on the rostrum. He admits being frustrated and it was about getting it out which always helps rather than keeping them in.

“Probably just, I was venting my frustration on myself,” said Russell when asked about Wolff radioing him. “Nothing really more than that.  I think as a driver you sometimes want to get this frustration out of your body and maybe not necessarily easy for everybody to understand why. I actually learned that my mistake wasn’t shown on TV in replays after the race, the rejoining was from prior mistake”.

“I don’t think actually it was clear for many people that we were effectively P3 on track and lost it. A lot of people take it as a well done for P5, not realising that I actually made a big mistake and it cost us P3. I was being held up by Ocon and Lewis post that, and Charles was closing me down. I was definitely not going to risk anything on Lewis in conditions like this”.

“But with that five-second penalty it could have been a good buffer if Charles had caught it up. It was not needed in the end, and I said to the team, no obligation and no pressure from my side and then as soon as I knew we were safe to Charles, I just brought it home. But yeah, it’s a bitterly disappointing when you do everything right for 98% of it, but that one tiny mistake costs everything,” summed up Russell.

Elaborating further, the Brit noted on the unfortunate contact with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez which earned him the 5s penalty. He admits of lack of concentration under the yellow flag which led to him going off at the same place as the other car and eventually got him the penalty when rejoining unsafely.

“The contact with Perez was after,” Russell started. “Prior to that, I was ahead of Lewis and Ocon, comfortably ahead, because I hadn’t pitted on the slick. Those guys had pitted and were behind me. I still had to pit for the medium but, obviously, I went straight from the hard to the intermediate.

“I came out in P5 behind the Ferraris but they were, of course, on slicks, so we were effectively P3 on the road. There was a yellow flag so I backed off and when I touched the brake, I just locked up and followed the yellow flag. That was a lesson to me that sometimes, when you’re not fully on it or fully focused, that’s when mistakes happen”.

“I’m really disappointed because if that one mistake didn’t happen, P3 was pretty much guaranteed. I definitely damaged the car a bit. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to continue but it kind of sorted itself out as the laps progress. I think the toes got bent at the rear end. I felt really uncomfortable in the car, but we were the quickest on track during that period. So, I don’t really know what was going on,” summed up Russell.

It was a pity for Russell because he was there or thereabouts the whole race despite  Max Verstappen dominating it and that podium could have been his for the taking. He is a guy who is hungry and still after success after last seasons first win but small mistakes aren’t helping him much which he will need to rectify going forward.

Here’s Christian Horner, Toto Wolff on Monaco

Here’s Toto Wolff on Lewis Hamilton’s car being craned

Here’s latest rumours on Lewis Hamilton