George Russell’s slick tyre gamble in Canadian Grand Prix qualifying “may have been a hero second” in response to Mercedes crew boss Toto Wolff, and was impressed by his well-known third place on the grid for the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.
Russell’s “high-risk, high-reward” gamble backfired when he spun and backed evenly into the barrier at Flip 2, guaranteeing that he was unable to enhance on his closing Q3 run. That left him eighth-fastest, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton opting to stay with intermediates and ending up fourth.
Russell mentioned the transfer was right down to his need to struggle for pole place, emulating the technique he used at Sochi final 12 months the place he was the primary to modify from intermediates to slicks in drying situations – doing so even earlier than he’d posted a Q3 banker lap.
He additionally talked about the Sochi comparability when he spoke to Wolff after the qualifying session.
“I need to struggle for pole place, and I’m not right here to accept P3, P4,” mentioned Russell. “I feel we had an excellent automotive as we speak.
“I noticed the dry line showing and it solely takes one nook to allow you to down, and for me, that was Flip 1 and a pair of.
“It occurred final 12 months in Sochi once I was considered one of three drivers to go from inters to slicks, and I certified P3 with Williams. So it’s excessive threat, excessive reward. It didn’t repay as we speak, however the race is tomorrow.”
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One other issue that led Russell to make the decision to modify to intermediates was how shortly the crossover from intermediates to slicks has occurred prior to now, significantly at Monaco final month.
However he underestimated the truth that the circuit was nonetheless extra damp in some areas than others, notably by way of Flip 1/2 the place he had his off.
“I used to be shocked in Monaco how shortly it transitioned,” mentioned Russell. “I used to be shocked on different events how shortly it transitioned. It simply takes half a dry line and every little thing adjustments.
“Half the monitor was completely dry. One other quarter of the monitor, there was a small dry line.
“After which the final quarter, which was Flip 1 and a pair of, it was simply on its manner. As I mentioned, it simply takes one nook.”
Russell additionally accepted that, with hindsight, he may have aborted the try on the finish of the outlap and switched again to intermediates.
He instructed that might have allowed him to “in all probability get again as much as P4”, however he was decided to assault.
He recognised the slicks could be troublesome when on the outlap, and insists he had no regrets in regards to the failed gamble given the potential upside.
“I realised that it was going to be very tough,” mentioned Russell of his outlap.
“I believed with a warm-up lap, that final lap might have been the one. But it surely’s not easy typically.
“I’m, glad I went for it as a result of it may have paid off. On the finish of the day, I’m P8. It’s not the tip of the world.”
Wolff admitted that the technique Mercedes used with Hamilton when it comes to cooldown laps was not good and that Russell would have been at the same stage had he stayed on intermediates.
However he backed Russell for making the dangerous name.
“We aren’t within the championship struggle and I feel if we might have given Lewis a greater technique with a cooldown lap, we might have been additional forward,” mentioned Wolff. “And I feel George would have in all probability been in an equal place.
“However that is the second the place you possibly can take dangers and I’m up for threat and up for ballsy calls.
“That is what he did and it may have been a hero second. It wasn’t however I feel you’ve acquired to go for it when you find yourself the place we’re.”