Mercedes clear up George Russell’s last lap radio message and puncture concern

George Russell reported he had a puncture on the final lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

George Russell feared he had a puncture on the final lap of the F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but it turned out to be a false alarm.

The Mercedes driver finished sixth in Jeddah, three places ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, but reported he had a “front right puncture” on the last lap of the grand prix.

Mercedes’ data showed no sign of any problem with the tyre and Russell was able to take the chequered flag without drama.

“He came on the radio, as you’ll have heard and said, ‘front right puncture’. So he was concerned that he did,” Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said.

“Now, what he was feeling was a vibration that suddenly appeared. He was concerned that it was the tyre that was losing air about to fail. But we can just look at our data and we can see that the tyre was fine in that sense.

“We can see the pressure on all four tyres live. So we would spot a puncture normally before even the driver sees it. Certainly, if it was a relatively slow puncture we'd say it before the driver.

“So we reassured him that that was fine. He said he could still feel a vibration. We checked the level of the vibration was nothing to concern us, we could see something, but it wasn't out of the ordinary.

“We were able to check that the brakes are all fine, which is obviously one of the key things. So we went back again and said, well, car looks fine for us.

“We told him the gap to the car behind just so that he knows he doesn't need to push. There's no one within four seconds, and he can actually take it easy for the remainder of the lap.”

Shovlin said Mercedes will have to wait for Pirelli to carry out their own investigation to discover whether there was any damage to Russell’s tyre.

“When we got the car back, checked everything. That all looks fine,” he added. “Now the tyre, we can't check because that belongs to Pirelli. So they've taken that off for analysis. But as I said, everything we can see, it looks okay.

“There was vibration data, but that can be as little as you just get some of the rubber pick up can get stuck on a tyre, can actually put it quite out of balance.

“So we'll let Pirelli do their investigations. But certainly from our side from the point of view of the car, there's nothing that we can see that's a problem.” 

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