Russell says points miss at Mugello ‘almost heartbreaking’

George Russell had a great opportunity to score his first-ever top ten finish in F1 in Sunday’s disrupted Tuscan Grand Prix, but the chance was squandered by a poor restart.

A solid driver had pushed Russell up to an “amazing” P9 when the race was red flagged for the second time of the afternoon with 16 laps remaining on the board.

However, the Williams driver botched his launch off the grid and drifted to the tail end of the 12-car field from where he failed to recover, the Briton ultimately finishing 11th.

©Williams

“It is heartbreaking almost,” said a disappointed Russell. “The whole team had worked so hard, got ourselves in an amazing position P9, and it was well and truly under control and sealed.

“The car was feeling great. I was matching the pace of Sebastian and Charles behind me on the same life tyre. And that red flag just threw it all away really.

“We made a really poor start just off the line. We don’t know why yet because procedural wise everything was spot on.

“Then having Kimi [Raikkonen] and [Romain] Grosjean, they obviously had an extra lap to warm the tyres up and they both made mega, mega launches, which didn’t help things.

“Nevertheless, just bitterly disappointing, because we deserved it and it should have been ours. Two red flags in one race is ridiculous.”

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Poor starts were the norm for Russell on Sunday, but the Williams charger was at a loss to explain the cause for the slow getaways.

“We looked at the procedure afterwards,” he explained. “You have to hit a certain percentage and I hit the exact percentage we were looking for.

“So we need to analyse whether it’s because the car was lighter, or the tyres were not hot enough, or what it was.

“I sat in the garage 10 minutes before, practising my starts for 10 minutes, and I must have done a total of 100 clutch drops over the course of those two hours. And every time I was within 2-3% of the target, which is normally not an issue at all.

“So we just need to look into it and see what went wrong because to be fair, all of our launches were bad today.”

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