Belgian Grand Prix – Williams’ George Russell was fortunate to avoid injury after hitting debris from Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo at Spa-Francorchamps.
Russell was immediately behind Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo on Lap 11, when the Italian driver lost control of the rear of his C39 going through the Fagnes corner.
Attempting to correct, Giovinazzi lost the rear completely and speared into the barriers. His car was destroyed in the incident, and left debris scattered all over the track. One of his wheel tethers failed and the wheel started bouncing across the road, with Russell hitting it as he attempted to negotiate his way past the stricken Alfa.
Russell’s right front corner was destroyed and he was powerless to stop himself from hitting the barriers as well. Thankfully, both drivers were uninjured and clambered out of their cars while the race was neutralised under the Safety Car.
“It is frustrating, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there was nothing we could do.” said Russell afterwards. “I went to the left to avoid Antonio’s car and then his wheel came from nowhere and hit the front of my car which pushed me into the wall. It was quite a big impact, but I am OK.”
“I feel very fortunate to have the halo on the car as it could have gone quite near my helmet. It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances, but that’s just racing sometimes. Up until that point I was in a good rhythm. I had overtaken the Haas, but it would have been a long and difficult race out there for us.”
Antonio Giovinazzi had been directly in front of teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who wound up finishing P12, meaning a points position had potentially been on the cards with a strong race. He explained the accident with Russell as simply being a case of losing the rear on the Medium tyres he was pushing hard on.
“A disappointing ending to my race: I was pushing a lot to keep within DRS range of Sebastian [Vettel] and the car just snapped on the exit.” Giovinazzi said. “I was on the limit and when you’re there, sometimes mistakes can happen. I feel sorry for the team as they deserved a good result this weekend, and of course also for George [Russell] as his race was compromised as well, although I couldn’t do anything about that.”
“There are still some positives I can take from this race: I had another really good start, I made up a few places and I was able to be in a fight with the Ferraris, so we can build on that. Next race up is my home race in Italy, I’ll need to reset and be in a better shape for next weekend.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) August 30, 2020