Russell Reveals Why He Got Upgraded Front Wing Over Hamilton For Monaco Grand Prix

Wednesday, 29 May 2024 at 18:00
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Following the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix, George Russell explained why he was the one driver in Mercedes to get the upgraded front wing for the weekend.
Mercedes made a new front wing in a rush for the Grand Prix weekend in Monaco, but there wasn't enough time for the team to produce two.
This meant that only one driver could have the upgraded part. This isn't uncommon, and it happens quite often with many other teams as well. We learned during the weekend that George Russell was the one who got it.
Speaking to the media after the qualifying session at the Circuit de Monaco, Lewis Hamilton asserted he expected to lose out to Russell because his teammate had an upgraded front wing.
The seven-time World Champion also spoke about how he always loses two-tenths going into qualifying and asserted that he doesn't expect to be ahead of his 26-year-old teammate in qualifying this season.
The 39-year-old's words led some to speculate whether the two Mercedes drivers receive equal treatment now that it's clear that Hamilton will depart the team at the end of the season.
Why was Russell the one who got the upgraded wing? Why wasn't it Hamilton? The younger of the pair explained the situation after the race. As quoted by PlanetF1, Russell said:

"There was one front wing this weekend and it was agreed on Tuesday that we'd do a coin toss and see who got it."

"Lewis said he'd tried it on the sim and was happy for me to use it this weekend, because it doesn't go without risk."

The risk was that there wasn't a substitutional part for the wing. If Russell damaged it, he would have to change it for an old-spec wing, which would be considered a breach of parc ferme rules.
This would result in the 26-year-old having to start from the pit lane, and as we know, there is no hope of redemption during the race in Monaco, where it's impossible to overtake.

"If we made a mistake in qualifying and damaged it, obviously that’s one front wing that we won’t ever be able to use again and you’d have to start from the pit lane."

"I was happy to take that risk using it and I thought it was a belated birthday present he gave me, saying I could use it."

As Hamilton was happy to give up the front wing for Russell, there was no coin toss in the end.