George Russell sets the record straight on Lewis Hamilton front wing decision

George Russell clears up the confusion surrounding why he got the new Mercedes front wing, not Lewis Hamilton.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo, Monaco, Race
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

George Russell has revealed that Mercedes had prepared to do a “coin toss” to decide who would run the upgraded front wing at the Monaco Grand Prix before Lewis Hamilton made the decision for himself.

Mercedes had just one of their new front wings available for last weekend in Monaco.

It transpired in Friday practice that it would be just run on Russell’s car, leading to a raft of theories about why that was the case.

Typically, teams tend to give whichever driver is ahead in the championship standings priority in terms of upgrades.

However, some speculated that it was Mercedes favouring Russell given Hamilton is leaving the team next year.

Speaking to Channel 4 after the race on Sunday, Russell set the record straight by confirming that Hamilton snubbed the coin toss after trying the new front wing in the simulator.

“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,” he said.

“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. 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.

He concluded: “No, we didn’t do the coin toss.”

Despite Hamilton taking the decision into his own hands, the seven-time world champion still referenced it in his reaction after both qualifying and the race.

The 39-year-old made a remarkable claim after qualifying that he doesn’t expect to out-qualify Russell at all in 2024, particularly in Monaco, as he didn’t have the “upgraded component”.

“So I anticipated it would be difficult to out-qualify George because he has the [upgraded] component. It’s great to see that we are bringing upgrades,” Hamilton said on Saturday in Monaco.

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