Mercedes driver George Russell has been handed a two-place grid penalty for hindering another driver while leaving the pit lane. While Russell understands the punishment, he finds it extremely frustrating due to the circumstances of the violation.
As per a new rule implemented on Friday, drivers must drive to the far left when leaving the pit lane to create space. Russell did not comply with this rule and was subsequently given a two-place grid penalty by the stewards.
In addition to Russell, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon also received two-place grid penalties for similar infringements. However, Russell expressed particular frustration after one of the stewards acknowledged the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his violation.
Russell explained, “It was a bit frustrating when the stewards told me that I was actually a bit unlucky, as Pierre accelerated and came behind me, and I didn’t do anything different from the other cars that also stayed roughly in the middle. I was trying to avoid debris on the left side of the track.”
The presence of screws and bolts scattered on the track made it challenging for Russell. He added, “I didn’t want to drive all the way on the left. I was surprised that they made such a black and white judgment.”
With new rules being introduced regularly, unforeseen consequences arise. Russell appreciates the stewards’ efforts but considers it a tough decision, given that it was the first time the rule was applied. Nevertheless, he accepts the penalty and looks forward to moving on.