George Russell reveals Fernando Alonso inspiration for ‘dream’ Spanish GP start

George Russell reflects on his stunning start on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38 and Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren…

George Russell has revealed he took inspiration from Fernando Alonso’s blistering start from the Spanish Grand Prix 13 years ago as he claimed the lead on the opening lap.

Russell overtook Max Verstappen and Lando Norris into the first corner with a ballsy overtake around the outside of Turn 1.

The Mercedes driver sat in Verstappen’s slipstream before veering to the left, sweeping around the outside and taking the lead of the race.

While it was all in vain, as Russell lost the lead of the race shortly after to Verstappen, it was a stunning move.

Alonso similarly took the lead of the race from fourth on the grid on the opening lap of the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix.

The Spaniard overtook the two Red Bulls and Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1 after tactically using his KERS system with some impressive car control.

Speaking after the race to select media including in Barcelona, Russell admitted he was “dreaming” of a similar start last night and referenced Alonso’s mega getaway in 2011.

“Yeah, I was kind of dreaming of it last night and what my plan of attack was,” he said. “I saw the weather forecast and the wind had shifted to a headwind in Turn 1, which I knew meant I could brake really late and deep into the corner.

“Yeah, I always, when I was racing karts, I always remember watching Fernando here in 2012 [2011], starting P4 and getting into the lead. So, I always knew it was possible.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Despite taking the lead, Russell could only finish fourth.

Russell lost out to Norris through the pit stop phase before being overtaken by Hamilton, who opted for the softs rather than hards in the final stint.

Russell conceded the hard tyre choice was “pretty rubbish”.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he added. “I think just a few small things went against us today. You know, the slow pit stop then put us on the back foot in the middle stint and under a bit of pressure. 

“And then, you know, lost a lot of time fighting with Lando, pitting onto the hard tyre. That was pretty rubbish, but it protected the P3 and P4 as a team and that’s what we were kind of aiming for.”

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