The one-stopping Russell was instructed to let teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was running fresher tyres after making a second stop, through as they battled over fifth place with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in the closing stages of Sunday’s race at Suzuka. 

Russell initially questioned the call and suggested copying the tactic used by Sainz at the previous round in Singapore, “Why don’t we invert on the last lap and he just stays in DRS like last week unless he’s fighting for a bigger result?”

But Mercedes rebuffed Russell’s plea, responding: “So it’s an instruction George, swap positions”.

Asked if he accepted the team order to swap positions, Russell replied: “Yeah, of course. You use the radio as a bit of a release valve because, it's so hot in the car, it's a long race, you're there pushing for an hour and a half, you're fighting every inch.

"The main goal is to finish P2 in the constructors' championship. The drivers' championship for me is out of the window totally, Lewis is in a good place to fight for a good position.

"But the goal is just to finish ahead of Ferrari this season, keep on working for next year, so yeah, no issues on my side.”

Russell added: “Of course, difficult for the team to judge. But as I said, myself I've got one goal, which is to finish P2 in the constructors' championship for the team. 

“Lewis has had a really consistent season this year. He's in a battle for P3 in the drivers' championship.

"Worst case, we lost two extra points there. But we could have ended up with four points less, so when you take the averages, the team made the right call.

"And from my side, zero hard feelings. As I said, we've got to work on the car and we're not going to get upset over a potential fifth and sixth loss versus a fifth and a seventh.”

Russell also said he had no complaints about how hard Hamilton battled him, saying he viewed their duel as “good, hard racing”. 

“It’s just hard, fair racing,” he explained. “Of course, we lost a bit of overall time fighting with one another and again, you are a bit frustrated on the radio but that’s just part of racing.”