George Russell despondent after last-lap crash in Singapore
A “heartbroken” George Russell struggled to hold back the tears after he believed victory slipped through his hands in Singapore on a frenetic night when Red Bull’s winning streak finally came to an end.
Max Verstappen arrived in the city-state on a record run of 10 straight victories, with his Red Bull team unbeaten this season. But Formula One’s all-conquering team were nowhere here – dashing their hopes of becoming the grid’s first ‘Invincibles’. Verstappen finished fifth.
Instead it was Carlos Sainz, who was crowned the first non-Red Bull winner of the year.
The Ferrari driver took the chequered flag just eight tenths clear of McLaren’s Lando Norris, following another fine drive by the British star, with Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes. Russell’s bid for victory ended in the wall on the last lap with only nine corners left.
“In the moment you want to curl up in a ball and be with nobody,” said Russell as he cleared his throat and his eyes red.
“It is the most horrendous feeling in the world when you are so physically and mentally drained and you miss out on an opportunity for victory. I made a mistake. It is truly heartbreaking.”
At a circuit where overtaking is almost impossible, Mercedes rolled the strategy dice by putting both Russell and Hamilton on fresh tyres on lap 45 of 62.
Russell left the pits 17.5 seconds behind Sainz. On lap 53, he swatted Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc aside and victory – which would have been only the second of his career – looked possible.
Sainz, on old tyres, was eight seconds up the road. Norris was nibbling at the Ferrari gearbox, as Russell and Hamilton, in the other black-liveried Mercedes in tow, set about hunting them down.
Russell was soon on the back of Norris’ papaya McLaren. With Norris