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Why Wolff intervened with furious Russell
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Why Wolff intervened with furious Russell

Why Wolff intervened with furious Russell

Why Wolff intervened with furious Russell

Why Wolff intervened with furious Russell

Toto Wolff has revealed his reasoning for a rare driver intervention during the French Grand Prix.

The Mercedes team principal was compelled to radio George Russell as the Briton fumed during a battle with Red Bull's Sergio Perez at the Paul Ricard Circuit.

Russell had attempted to make his way up the inside at the turn eight-nine chicane, only for the door to be closed at the apex by the Mexican.

The duo made contact, with Perez retaining position by straight-lining the chicane, leaving Russell agitated on team radio.

The FIA took no action over the incident as Russell continued to release frustration on his airwaves.

That led Wolff to intervene, giving his driver a pep-talk and insisting the battle could still be won on track - and so it transpired with Russell cleverly overtaking his rival at the end of a late virtual safety car period as Perez was caught napping.

"I felt like he was a little bit stuck in a loop of being upset about the situation," said Wolff, when asked why he felt the need to step in.

"As a driver, you are stuck in your little cockpit and I felt like he had the pace, he just needed to drop the upsetness and concentrate to beat him on track.

"In the end, it was just clever. There was a bit of confusion with the virtual safety car and he just did it."

Wolff reveals worrying truth after double podium

Russell's move secured third behind race-winner Max Verstappen and team-mate Lewis Hamiton to ensure a first double podium for Mercedes since Saudi Arabia last season.

But Hamilton was 10 seconds down on the Red Bull at the end of the race, while both profited from Charles Leclerc's error that saw the Ferrari driver crash out from the lead on lap 18.

"Second and third is great, two steps on the podium, we scored solid points in the championships and it is encouraging we are able to score these results on Sundays," added Wolff.

"But it is still very difficult for us to pin down where we have gaps.

"The truth is if everybody finishes... we had the pace to go with Perez but Leclerc shunted out so we are third or fourth on track - maybe with Sainz not starting from the back but then an engine penalty is an engine penalty.

"If you are pessimistic... I don't know how you can translate that one."

Additional reporting by Ian Parkes

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