“Happens to the Best”: Toto Wolff Voices Concern and Appreciate for George Russell After Imola Crash

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George Russell suffered a painful end to his race at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix as the young Briton shunted his car into the wall during the safety car period while warming up his Hard tires.

Following the race, Russell was kicking himself and admitted that the mistake was a silly one and could have been avoided. However, Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, felt that such mistakes are to be taken as lessons and will only make Russell a better driver.

Toto, who has backed Russell through his highs and lows, opened up about the simple mistake that cost him the chance of scoring his maiden F1 point.

What George did, it happened to the best. It feels terrible to him right now. But it is going to settle down and become kind of a scar. This will make him a better driver in the future.”

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Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talks in a press conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza in Monza, Italy. (Photo by XPB/Pool via Getty Images)

The safety car was called in during the race following Max Verstappen’s retirement. Hence, like others, George too was weaving his car from one side of the track to the other in a bid to keep his tire temperatures under check.

But what followed was a difficult pill to swallow. As he was swerving around, he ended up losing his rear and slammed straight into the wall. Russell eventually got out of the car and sat on the floor as he painted a distraught figure.

It is part of the development process: Toto Wolff

Toto believed that Russell will grow to become a better driver from incidents like these, just like all the other experienced drivers. “It’s all part of the development process,” Toto said.

What makes Lewis and Valtteri, and previously Nico, so special was the experience they had gained. I think it can happen to anyone that they put a car in the wall behind the safety car.”

Williams' George Russell at a press conference
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit, Portimao, Portugal – Williams’ George Russell during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS

What’s more, even Alex Albon messed up his race at Imola. The Red Bull driver failed to light up his Hard tires and ended up spinning into the gravel. But unlike Albon, Russell will not be feeling the heat from his team as his future with Williams is already confirmed until 2021.

Hence, will Russell manage to leave this incident behind him and look forward to making a strong comeback in Turkey? Only time will tell.

(The quotes are translated from Dutch using Google Translate)

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