Russell Hits At F1 As He Discusses Wolff's 'Single Dumbest Mistake'

Friday, 05 July 2024 at 22:00
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Speaking to the media ahead of the 2024 British Grand Prix, George Russell returned to the incident with Toto Wolff from the previous race in Austria.
During the 2024 Austrian Grand Prix, George Russell scored the second victory of his career, returning Mercedes to the top of the podium after a 33-race drought.
The 26-year-old profited from a collision between leading Max Verstappen and Lando Norris seven laps before the end of the race.
When it became clear that the Mercedes driver would have a real chance to win in Austria, Wolff couldn't control himself and shouted on the team radio, "George, you can win this! You can win this, George."
This overenthusiastic message, however, received a very cold, angry response from Russell: "Just let me f***ing drive." Why? Because drivers don't like it when their team speaks to them in the corners or under braking. Reflecting on the incident a week later, Russell said:

"We live and breathe this together and it just goes to show the passion that he has. If he [Wolff] is not feeling his emotions, then he doesn't care, and he clearly cares, and he wants to win more than anyone. I feel pretty fortunate to have a boss like Toto and to feel that and experience that with him."

Right after the 11th round of the season in Austria, Wolff himself labeled the passionate radio message as the "single dumbest thing I've done in 12 years at Mercedes."
The team principal acknowledged that such a distraction in the middle of the corner could have caused Russell to crash in the worst scenario.
The British driver, on the other hand, also said that it wasn't as bad as F1TV made it look because of the communication on the radio that took place prior but wasn't shown in the live broadcast.

"Formula 1 are pretty good at clipping the best bits of the radio - there was a lot of context before. My engineer was on the radio for a good sort of 15 seconds before, and then Toto on top. So there was so much going on."

"As I said, what a moment it was for us. It's kind of understandable - we've not been in that position for a long time, and everyone gets excited."