George Russell, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2022

Mercedes did not tell Russell they feared water leak would deny him win

2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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George Russell scored the first grand prix victory of his career unaware that his team spent half the race worrying that a water leak would force him to retire.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who followed the team’s progress from their base in Brackley this weekend, revealed after the race the fault had developed at around half-distance.

“We had a water leak on the car throughout the race and it wasn’t clear whether we could actually make it to the end,” he told media including RaceFans.

The team took the decision it was best not to worry Russell by telling him about the developing problem.

“We talked about it on the intercom and we all agreed we’re going to let him drive to the end even without water, on whatever was there to cool it and just try to finish the race.”

Russell finally scored his first win for the team two years since he nearly scored a shock victory for them as a substitute during the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.

“I think he deserved to win in Bahrain and we let him down with the car,” said Wolff. “That’s why today this victory makes us happy because he could have had one on the clock two years ago, and he didn’t, and now he has that first victory.”

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2022 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Mercedes did not tell Russell they feared water leak would deny him win”

  1. That’s the way to do it! Imagine George’s reaction to that message. Now he has his first win, and he knows he can do it again. Great management IMHO.

  2. Ah yes, the classic Mercedes lie about how their controlling win was totally in danger. I cannot say I missed this during the last twelve months.

    1. You have evidence it was a lie? They’ve been fairly transparent about their issues even when they were not winning.

  3. Yeah, good they did not tell him since there really was nothing they or he could have done. Either it held or it would not have.

    I am happy that in the end the car held, because that would have just been such an anticlimax.

    1. I suppose it depends on where the water was leaking from. If the water had been leaking onto his rear tyre in tight left handers, they could have warned him of possible loss of traction at that point, but if it was just leaking and evaporating off the engine cover then yes, nothing they could do about it so best not to freak him out.

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