George Russell will keep his maiden F1 points after the stewards decided to fine Mercedes for its tyre mix-up during the Sakhir Grand Prix.

Mercedes has been fined €20,000 after it fit Russell’s car with Valtteri Bottas’ tyres under the Safety Car.

Mercedes’ error meant Russell was forced to pit twice under the Safety Car, dropping to fifth place.

 

It meant Russell could keep the three points he picked up for finishing ninth with the fastest lap after stopping again due to a puncture.

The statement from the FIA stewards said: “This was caused by a radio communications technical issue wherein the pit wall’s communication to the pit crew that Car 63 was entering the pits prior to (and not after) Car 77, failed to be received by the crew of Car 63 because at the same time, the driver of Car 63 transmitted over the top of that message.  

“This resulted in the front tyres of Car 77 accidentally going onto Car 63. (The cars were “double stacked” at the time.) This is clearly a breach of the regulations and would normally involve a sporting penalty up to Disqualification. However, in this case there are mitigating circumstances, additional to the radio issue referred t above.

“Firstly, the team rectified the problem within 1 lap.  This involved Car 63 making another pit stop, thus dropping it further down the classification.

“Secondly, Car 77 made a pit stop to change tyres only to find that the front tyres to be fitted to it, were on Car 63, so was sent out after considerable delay, with the tyres that were on Car 77 prior to the pit stop. This also impacted the final classification of Car 77.

“Thirdly, although this type of infringement is not catered for under the “3 lap tolerance” referred to in the second paragraph of Article 24.4 b) (which currently only refers to the use of tyres of differing specifications), we consider it to be similar in nature.

“However, the responsibility to fit tyres in compliance with the regulations still rests with The Stewards any team and thus a penalty is considered as being required. It is recommended that the FIA consider amending Article 24.4 b) to accommodate this type of breach when it is rectified without delay. It is noted that this type of breach has not previously been experienced in F1.”