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Formula 1 Azerbaijan GP

Russell "made a mess" of Azerbaijan GP restart

Mercedes Formula 1 driver George Russell says he "made a mess" of his Azerbaijan Grand Prix restart, which made him lose two positions.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

In Sunday's Baku race Russell had to take avoiding action on the lap 13 restart not to hit Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso into Turn 1.

Russell had to veer right, which made him miss the apex of the 90-degree left-hander and left him wide onto the dirt on exit.

That gave the chasing Lance Stroll the momentum to pass him for seventh place on the inside into Turn 2. Stroll's move also backed up Russell enough to allow team-mate Lewis Hamilton past in the run to Turn 3.

It was the second day in a row Russell made a poor restart after being picked off by Max Verstappen at the line in Saturday's sprint restart.

"I'm a little bit disappointed with myself," Russell said. "I made a really good start, got into good position around the pitstops to get ahead of Stroll and then I just made a mess of the restart.

"I was defending from Lance, almost went into the back of Fernando, ran wide got my tyres dirty, which is ultimately the reason why Lance and Lewis got by and from then on it was the line astern.

"I just got a bit caught out about how early Fernando braked, I had to almost go to the right in Turn 1 instead of turning left, got onto the dirt and it just all went downhill from there.

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint race

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

"Not good enough from my side. It's always a bit chaotic, some of these safety car restarts, especially on a track like this. Two days, two poor ones from my side, I need to do better."

Russell ended up in no man's land in eighth and had such a gap on ninth-placed Lando Norris that he could make a late pitstop for softs to grab the point for the fastest lap.

Overtaking came at a premium in Baku, but before the restart Russell cleverly managed to nick a position off Stroll at the race's only round of pitstops under the safety car.

Stroll appeared to back off to leave a gap with team-mate Fernando Alonso ahead and thus afford his Aston Martin team more breathing space for a double stack pitstop.

Russell thought Stroll's actions were "questionable" but retaliated by nipping past the Canadian right before the pit entry line.

"It played in my hand, I managed to overtake him on the way into the pitlane," he explained.

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"I think it's against the rules to do what he did. It was obviously a bit questionable, but it was quite satisfying to get ahead.

"Good pitstop by the guys and then just a shame that I let it all slip.

"It was very close with us and Aston Martin. Small differences can make a big change in terms of results but ultimately we're on the back foot."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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