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Martin Brundle has called out the FIA’s decision to penalise George Russell at the Monaco Grand Prix, saying there was nothing else the Mercedes driver could do. Russell was hit with a five-second penalty after colliding with Sergio Perez after running wide at Mirabeau.
The Briton slammed into the side of the Red Bull as he rejoined the circuit, prompting stewards to intervene. However, Brundle has stressed Russell was not at fault for the incident as it is unlikely he could have seen anyone coming.
The former F1 star turned TV pundit says there is “limited space” in the car which makes it almost impossible to see anything coming from the side. Writing in his Sky Sports F1 column, Brundle said: “Having fitted intermediate tyres on the optimum lap 53 Russell could have stolen third place from Ocon if he didn’t have a lock-up down into the Mirabeau escape road.
“He would then take a five-second penalty for dangerously rejoining the track and taking a sizable hit from the lapped Perez, but actually, there’s nothing else a driver can do other than join, accelerate and hope, unless you want to patiently sit there to see if a marshal will wave you back into a space.
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“The drivers can’t see out of the side of the raised cockpits and with the HANS safety device connected to the crash helmet and very limited space they can’t turn their heads anyway. And mirrors are no good if your car is not on the racing line.”
Although the accident itself cost Russell a podium finish, the penalty didn’t have an impact. Russell finished the race around 10 seconds clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc which meant he was not demoted any more positions.
It means Russell finished the race in P5 behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton who kept it clean to maximise other people’s errors.
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After the race, Russell was left dejected after admitting he had cost the team a chance of silverware. He explained: “I’m very disappointed with myself. After the pit stop, I was ahead of Lewis and Esteban and I made a mistake, completely by myself. What’s even worse is that I wasn’t even pushing.
“I touched the brake and locked up; that’s cost the team a podium. One third of the track was extremely wet, another part was quite dry. If you touch the white line when it’s wet, it’s like ice. But ultimately, it’s the same conditions for everyone.”
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