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Austrian GP: I almost crashed with Toto Wolff on radio – George Russell

Austrian GP: I almost crashed with Toto Wolff on radio - George Russell

SPIELBERG, Austria — George Russell said he nearly crashed out of the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix when Mercedes’ team boss Toto Wolff screamed his encouragement to him over his pit-to-car radio.

Russell was mid-corner when Wolff overrode the usual radio protocol to speak directly to his driver from the Mercedes garage.

“George, you can win this!” Wolff said.

Russell, who had inherited the lead of the race a few laps earlier after Max Verstappen and Lando Norris collided ahead of him, said he nearly lost control of his car.

“Suddenly I had Toto screaming in my ear, you know, you can win this, and I almost crashed when he screamed into my ears it was that loud,” Russell said after the race.

“But I think it just goes to show the passion that we all share, and, you know, it’s obviously been a tough couple of years for us. You know, it feels great to be back on the top step.”

Wolff admitted the radio call was one of the “dumbest” mistakes of his career.

“I think I know the drivers pretty well and what they need at times to encourage or to refocus, because I spend so much time with them — I think I know their psychology,” he said. “But this one is the single dumbest thing I’ve done in 12 years at Mercedes.

“I will be forever ashamed because you look at where you message the driver and you don’t do it during braking. Or in high-speed corners.

“But I didn’t look on the GPS I just saw these two taking each other out and we anticipated it, and then just emotionally pressed the button and said ‘we can win this’.

“I could have taken him out with that message! Imagine how that could have felt. I’m emotional.

“I enjoy us doing well and I enjoy seeing Lewis and George doing well. I was just carried away with that situation, but seriously, embarrassing!”

The result was Mercedes’ first victory since the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix, which Russell also won, and the British driver is hopeful he can repeat the feat at his home race at Silverstone next weekend.

“You always dare to dream, for sure,” he said. “Anything can happen.

“I think Red Bull were really quick this weekend in the high-speed corners, so they’re going to look pretty strong next week in Silverstone.

“But we’ve got a few days between now and then….

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