Points for George in frenetic Las Vegas Grand Prix
With a mixed Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint weekend behind him, George headed for the Mojave Desert and the first Las Vegas Grand Prix in four decades for a memorable star-studded event.
Mixed results from an unorthodox practice schedule
In a shortened FP1 session, George completed just four laps but still managed to record the sixth-fastest time.
The FP2 session that followed was extended to 90 minutes, allowing for the field to make up for lost time and complete plenty of laps. George did just that, logging 37 tours of the circuit as well as a time good enough for P12.
George was quickest of all in final practice, before the session was red flagged in the final minutes.
Promising pace throughout qualifying yields second row start
In the first part of qualifying, George overcame a track limits lap time deletion to progress with the third-fastest time. The King’s Lynn driver then replicated that position in Q2.
The third and final stage of qualifying would see George in fifth after an encouraging first run on used Soft Pirelli tyres that placed him fifth. As the clock ticked down, the #63 driver improved his time to secure fourth and a spot on the second row of the grid.
An eventful race ends with points in Las Vegas
A grid penalty for Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari meant George was elevated to third on the grid, a position he held with a tight grip through the opening skirmishes.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team driver maintained his composure and retained third through an early Safety Car period and withstood pressure from Pierre Gasly’s Alpine shortly after.
On Lap 15, the team opted to pit George for a set of fresh Hard tyres and he fed back into the pack in P13.
A time penalty for early race leader Max Verstappen meant he re-joined behind George and the pair subsequently began scything their way through the field together. First up was Zhou Guanyu, then Fernando Alonso on Lap 22, followed by Sainz two laps later.
With George now in fourth, Verstappen piled on the pressure and made his way past on Lap 25, but the pair made contact which would come back to haunt him later.
A second Safety Car brought George into the pits again for another set of Hard tyres and he restarted the race in ninth. Shortly after the restart, he received a five-second penalty for the contact with Verstappen which would be added onto his final race time.
Then began George’s fightback, starting with Alex Albon on Lap 40, followed by Gasly and then a pit stop for Oscar Pisatri promoted him to sixth.
On the penultimate lap, George masterfully overtook Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin and followed it up with a last-lap overtake on Esteban Ocon to secure fourth on the road. His penalty demoted him to eighth in the final reckoning.
George Russell, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team driver:
Today was on me; I simply didn’t see Verstappen. He was totally in the blind spot, and we made contact; it was completely my fault. We knew they were much quicker than us and I was happy to concede the position. I knew our fight wasn’t with Verstappen and tyre management was more important. It was a real shame as we were on course for a podium. It changed the dynamic of the race too with the Safety Car. It feels like we’ve thrown another one away today and I am really disappointed right now. It is the story of our season.
There are positives we can take into Abu Dhabi. We were in the fight for second on the road today, but we will have to put in a strong showing in the final race to claim P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.