Formula 1 Racing

Rapid reactions & radio confusion after Russell’s shunt · RaceFans

Fernando Alonso, George Russell, Albert Park, 2024

For the second year in a row, the Australian Grand Prix ended in dramatic fashion, this time when George Russell lost control of his Mercedes and crashed in pursuit of Fernando Alonso at one of the fastest corners on the track.

The shunt created a dangerous situation which required fast reactions from both the drivers and race control.

Thankfully, the first drivers on the crash scene were able to avoid getting tangled up in the crash. However as the Medical Car was scrambled to attend to Russell as quickly as possible, some drivers were surprised to see it appear on track, having seemingly not been advised it would be there.

Here is how the alarming situation at the end of the race played out over team radio.

The crash

Russell’s pursuit of Alonso ended in a significant shunt

Alonso was less than a second ahead of Russell as they began their penultimate lap. Russell had used DRS along the Lakeside Drive back straight to pull up close to the Aston Martin, but Alonso was concerned that the Mercedes may eventually get by before the end of the race.

Approaching turn six, Alonso lifted off the throttle and braked briefly, then accelerated before braking a second time to make the corner. Russell closed in on the Aston Martin at a rapid pace at the apex, lost control of his car and sliding wide onto the gravel.

Although his Mercedes scrubbed off a considerable amount of speed before it hit the barriers at, his momentum was enough to bounce the W15 back onto the live race track. His left-rear wheel buckled under the car, pitching it up on its side and leaving Russell exposed to cars approaching the blind entry to the corner.

Speaker Message
Russell Red flag! Red flag! Red flag! I’m in the middle of the track! Red flag! Red flag!
Dudley Okay we’ll go red flag – you’ve got Stroll…
Russell Red! Red! Red! Red! Red! I’m in the middle – red! Fucking hell…

Alonso rounded turn eight and onto the straight to find his rival was no longer in his mirrors. Soon after, the Virtual Safety Car was deployed by race director Niels Wittich, effectively ending the race which was now on its last lap.

Speaker Message
Cronin You are all clear behind now.
Cronin Virtual Safety Car. Virtual Safety Car. Slow down. Slow down. Get your delta positive.
Cronin So Russell has reported that he’s okay, Fernando. Just for info.

When Alonso came back around a lap later and saw Russell’s car in the middle of the road he said: “Wow, is he okay?”

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