Rough ride for Russell in Baku Grand Prix

Tydd St Giles’ Formula One driver George Russell had an exciting time at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
George Russell in action in Baku.George Russell in action in Baku.
George Russell in action in Baku.

Russell was involved in a bizarre accident in practice in Baku when the underside of his Williams car was wrecked by a loose drain cover. Worse was to follow as the recovery truck sent to pick up the stricken car promptly drove into a bridge causing oil to spill onto the damaged vehicle!

Rookie Russell qualified in 19th place of the 20 drivers and went onto finish 15th, albeit two laps behind race winner Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was second with Sebastien Vettel third, Bottas now leads the Drivers Championship from Hamilton by one point.

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Russell has now finished 15th twice and 16th twice in the uncompetitive Williams, but he reckoned this was the worst performance of his season by his team.

George Russell.George Russell.
George Russell.

“Sunday was slightly better,” Russell said. “But overall, Baku has probably been the worst weekend of the year for us

“Our set-up didn’t work as we anticipated and now it’s onto Barcelona where we will hopefully be more competitive.

“The crash in practice didn’t help. If that was 10-15mm higher, it was going straight into where I’m sat, It could have been much worse.

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“It was obviously a very large hit. I was just shocked really more than anything.

“Just going down the straight doing your normal stuff, and I got this big hit.

“Obviously there was a lot of damage, and the car turned off straight away, because of the damage.

“Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt. It set the fire extinguisher off, and as that was so cold, I thought I was sort of burning, so I got out of the car as quick as I could!

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“I don’t know the speed, but I know it was 4G of vertical load - which I think is quite high.

“I knew I hit something on the track, but I didn’t realise it was a manhole cover.

“It was already quite bumpy down the straight as it is. It was quite a shock when I smashed it, and very dangerous really.”

The Spanish Grand Prix takes place on May 12.