Mercedes reveal fear behind ‘preventative’ George Russell British GP DNF

Mercedes have explained the reason behind George Russell's DNF at the British Grand Prix.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 retired from the race. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 12, British Grand Prix,
George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15 retired from the race. Formula 1…

Mercedes say they took “preventative” action in making the decision to retire George Russell’s car during the F1 British Grand Prix.

Russell claimed pole position at Silverstone and led the early exchanges of Sunday’s epic wet-dry race. But while running fourth behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, Mercedes suddenly instructed Russell to retire after he encountered a water system leak.

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has revealed the problem was detected early in the race and the team decided to call Russell in amid fears his engine could suffer irreparable damage.

"I mean unfortunately we knew that we had an issue relatively early in the race, so we were tracking this from the first stint,” Shovlin explained in the team’s latest post-race debrief video.

“We didn't know that it was going to be terminal, but it's all linked to a leak that was in the water system that was causing the pressure to start to drift, and ultimately when we stopped the car, it was to protect the power unit.

“So we knew that we were never going to finish the race. What you don't want to do is finish the race and destroy the power unit, then you'll be looking at a penalty possibly later in the year.

“So it was preventative, but there was no way that we were going to get to the chequered flag.”

Had Russell been able to continue in the race, Mercedes reckon he would have been on course to finish a “minimum” of fourth and potentially challenge for a spot on the podium.

“With a race like that, with the changing conditions, it's quite hard to say this is where we would have finished,” Shovlin said.

“If it had been a dry race start to finish, looking at how George got off the line, how he was able to build a gap, I think he would have had a pretty straightforward afternoon.

“But if you take the point where we actually decided to retire the car, we were on intermediates, George was in P4, he was closing in on Max, so that was looking good.

“And to get him on the podium, he would have probably had to overtake Max at that point realistically, because we called the stop lap correct with Lewis when we went to dry tyres.

“So I think earlier it might have been a bit too damp. So as I said, minimum of P4, but there would have been a shot at it if he could have passed Max on track on the Inter.” 

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