George scores more points in F1 Sprint weekend in Azerbaijan
George Russell faced a tough weekend around the Azerbaijani capital, but came away with a handful of points to start five events in six weeks.
Formula One's altered Sprint format for the weekend featured an all-new session – the Sprint Shootout – held on Saturday morning – which determines the grid for the Sprint race on Saturday afternoon.
Qualifying for the Grand Prix on Friday, George narrowly missed out on a spot in the top 10 shootout by 0.004 second away from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
George fared better in Saturday's Sprint Shootout. The condensed session resulted in George finishing in fourth place, where he would line up for the 19-lap Sprint that afternoon.
In the Sprint, on the Medium tyres, George battled with Red Bull's Max Verstappen for third in the early stages, getting by before the Safety Car was called.
On the restart, Verstappen retook third. George found himself fighting with Carlos Sainz's Ferrari for the remainder of the race and finished fourth, picking up five points in the process.
In the Grand Prix, starting from 11th on the grid, George had an electrifying start and gained two positions in the early stages.
When a Safety Car was called on lap 11, George made his first pitstop, swapping from the Medium to the Hard compound. On the pit entry, he pulled off a brave move on the slowing Aston Martin of Lance Stroll to gain a position.
At the restart, he dropped a position to Stroll, and was stuck behind the Aston Martin for the remainder of the race, unable to get past due to the closeness of the battle over fifth place and the ensuing DRS train.
George pitted towards the end for a fresh set of Soft tyres and set the fastest lap on the final lap for an additional championship point to the four picked up for finishing eighth, culminating in 10 for the weekend as a whole.
George Russell, Driver, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One™ Team driver:
“I'm a little bit disappointed with myself today. I made a really good start and got in a decent position. I made a good move on Stroll to get past him into the pit lane but I then made a mess of the restart.
“I was defending from Lance and almost ran into the back of Fernando (Alonso). I then ran wide and got my tyres dirty. Ultimately that's why both Lance and Lewis got past. From there, it was line astern.
“I'll take the extra point for fastest lap but the only reason we had that opportunity was because we were in a bad position. It was close pace-wise between ourselves, Ferrari and Aston Martin and small differences can make a big change in terms of results. Whether we finish P4 or P8 though, it's far from first so we've got a lot of work to do.”