(Motorsport-Total.com) – After his victory in the Sao Paulo sprint on Saturday, George Russell stressed that there will be no team orders between Mercedes for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. One might therefore wonder about his radio message during the safety car phase just before the end of the race when Mercedes were first and second with Russell in the lead.
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Safety car restart just before the end of the race: Lewis Hamilton chasing his Mercedes teammate George Russell
Do we fight or do we get a double win?” asked Russell, to which his race engineer Riccardo Musconi responded: “You’re going to race, be respectful.” It sounds like the Brit would rather hear if Mercedes finished in Russell’s order, Hamilton without buoy.
But even without team orders in his favour, he was able to secure his first career F1 victory, although he said he was at least partially surprised by the response he received over the radio from Mercedes after the race.
No team orders for Russell: ‘You risked every curve’
When asked if he was surprised that there were no team orders, he said: “Yes and no. Because we’ve always said we can race. This and the team have shown Lewis and I a lot of confidence and we’ve had a few moments during the year where we they rode side by side and we always respected each other.”
“I think I just wanted to understand the position because I knew how important the one-two was to the team. So if we didn’t race against each other, they would say ‘take the car home’.”
“But that’s how every lap was qualifying and you risked every corner. The laps just had to be perfect. But of course I’m happy to win this way,” says Russell with satisfaction.
Toto Wolff: scenario “discussed in strategy meeting”
Team boss Toto Wolff also added after the race that the team order was not counted on, even if it meant risking a one-two loss. However, this scenario was discussed in the pre-race team meeting.
Compact analysis: Sao Paulo Grand Prix 2022
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“I think as a team we’ve always stood for free racing and we’ve never done anything else unless one driver is mathematically no longer in contention for the championship and the other is,” says Wolff.
“We were actually looking forward to them running on the same tire as the equivalent and we discussed it this morning at the strategy meeting.”
Russell: It was enough to look ahead
However, Russell was strong enough to win the race on his own and handle all the difficult situations – like the race start or the safety car restart. “But it sure was hard,” he notes.
“But you just have to go through the process and treat it like anyone else. There was a moment in the race when I was looking in the mirrors a lot to see Lewis, but I realized now I’m just looking forward.”
“And the only way to win this race is to look ahead, go as fast as possible and not make any mistakes,” he explains. “My engineer gave me the distances over the radio, probably four times a lap.
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“And it was always between 1.1 and 1.3, 1.1, 1.4, 1.1. I just wanted that little extra half-second. It wasn’t until I got into sector three on the last lap that I knew that we made it.” it.”
After the win: Will Russell still get second place in the World Championship?
With a full 34 points in Brazil for the sprint win, race win and fastest lap, Russell now even has an outside shot at second in the drivers’ standings.
The Mercedes driver is 25 points behind Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez, but if he fails to score a single point in Abu Dhabi and Russell wins the race again, including fastest lap, he would secure second place in the championship. However, this scenario is more than unlikely.