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Mercedes F1 star avoids grid penalty despite ‘DANGEROUS’ Japanese GP incident

Mercedes F1 star avoids grid penalty despite ‘DANGEROUS’ Japanese GP incident

Mercedes F1 star avoids grid penalty despite ‘DANGEROUS’ Japanese GP incident

Mercedes F1 star avoids grid penalty despite ‘DANGEROUS’ Japanese GP incident

George Russell has avoided a grid penalty despite an unsafe release by Mercedes into the Suzuka pitlane during qualifying which was brandished dangerous by a rival driver.

Q3 saw drivers from Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren all locked in a battle to start third behind the dominant Red Bull cars, with Lando Norris coming out on top and securing P3.

READ MORE: Mercedes F1 boss makes shock U-TURN on key decision

McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri, will start sixth for Sunday’s race after just three tenths separated third and eighth place.

One man who failed to put a lap together completely was Russell, who ended up nearly one second away from people position, leaving him with a fifth row start for the grand prix in ninth.

READ MORE: Hamilton 'SPOILT' claims former F1 star

Oscar Piastri qualified sixth for the Japanese GP

What happened to George Russell?

Piastri and Russell were summoned to the stewards after the Brit was released into the path of the McLaren, who was moving down the pit-lane within the usual 80kph speed limit.

The action forced Piastri to brake and turn away from him as the two came within inches of making contact in a very awkward part of the circuit.

READ MORE: F1 announces ground-breaking new racing partnership

George Russell will start the Japanese Grand Prix from ninth

In response to the unsafe release, Piastri called Russell’s move as "very dangerous" on team radio.

Despite that, Mercedes have been fined €5,000 after stewards found that the mechanic of Russell who released him "did not look down to pitlane to see if it was clear" - meaning the Englishman will keep his ninth place for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix.

Full stewards' statement following the incident

Oscar Piastri stands next to Lando Norris

A statement from the stewards read: "The driver of Car 63 (Russell) stated that on receiving the release signal from his mechanic, he had intended to drive down the working lane, however he saw the mechanic from Car 44 (Hamilton) in his peripheral vision and in order to avoid him, he claimed he had to move into the fast lane.

"He was not able to see the approach of Car 81 (Piastri). The driver of Car 81 stated that he had to take avoiding action by steering away from the approaching Car 63.

"Examination of the pit lane video shows that the mechanic of Car 63 who released the car did not look down to pit lane to see if it was clear.

"Even though the stated intention of the team was for Car 63 to move down the working lane then blend in prior to the pit exit, it is still the responsibility of the team to release the car in a safe manner and good practice would dictate that prior to the car being released, the pit lanes (both fast and working) should be checked for approaching vehicles."

READ MORE: Hamilton backs Vettel to REPLACE him at Mercedes

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