Wolff admits Russell could have avoided Canadian F1 mistakes – Motorsport Week

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted George Russell could have avoided his mistakes at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, but denied it cost the team victory.

Russell controlled the proceedings from pole position until lap 21, when a resurgent Lando Norris passed him and opened up a lead of more than seven seconds at the front.

But while Russell regained second place from Norris when McLaren acted hesitant at the pit wall, the Briton went wide at Turn 8 and allowed his compatriot to pass again.

Russell pitted under a second safety car later in the race and recovered to third, with Wolff convinced that beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen constituted a “long shot”.

Asked if he felt Mercedes missed an opportunity to take its first win since November 2022, Wolff told Sky Sports F1: “A win was maybe a long shot or a short dream.

“When George was on the hard court, catching up and showing really strong pace, maybe for a second we thought about it, but you don’t have to be too greedy.”

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. 06/09/2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Round 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.

Russell was attempting to use his new rubber when he collided with Oscar Piastri at the final chicane and slid behind his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

Although Russell would regain both positions in the closing laps, Wolff admitted his driver should have been more measured with his approach against the McLaren.

“On the one hand there was brilliance in the race, and on the other hand, maybe I could have avoided (the mistakes),” Wolff proclaimed.

“I think the pass (to Piastri) was never in that corner. As a driver, what makes his overtaking good is that he takes risks and drives very hard.

“And this one was perhaps too ambitious, it cost him a position, but he regained it later.”

However, Wolff denies that Piastri’s hit prevented Russell from winning and instead focused his emotions on the encouragement of Mercedes’ speed.

When asked if the Piastri incident cost Russell a better chance of winning, Wolff responded: “I think he came in second in the end.

“I don’t know if Lando had a problem, he was getting weaker, he took it easy, but it still could have been another position without it.

“But what could have been is not relevant. The important thing is that we provide drivers with a fast car.

“We need to take the positive because we have taken a real step forward, we are contributing something and the direction of development is true.”