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George Russell said his “gutting” Emilia Romagna GP crash while running behind the safety car was a “stupid mistake” and has apologised to his Williams Formula 1 team.

Russell had been running on the fringes of the points when the safety car was dispatched after a rear tyre failure on Max Verstappen’s Red Bull, and decided to stay out on his hard compound tyres while many others pitted for fresh softs.

Russell was the first car in the queue behind the safety car, ahead of the Alfa Romeos of Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi that went on to finish ninth and 10th, when he lost control trying to warm his tyres and slammed hard into the wall on the approach to the first Acque Minerali right-hander.

Before alighting from the car he apologised to the team, and soon after returning to the paddock he posted a Twitter message, saying: “I don’t know what to say. No excuses. I’m so sorry guys.”

The retirement means that Russell has now made 34 starts in F1 without making the top 10.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked what he had to do to score a point.

“I mean, not make stupid mistakes like I did today.

“It was a race that I was pushing as hard as I could from lap one until then, the most aggressive I’ve ever been.

“I wanted to continue that under the safety car because I knew that with the guys behind me on the hot new tyres, myself on the old tyres, if I had any chance of getting a point, I needed to be super aggressive.

“And obviously, as soon as I lost the car, I was already in the wall, and it’s just gutting. Obviously really sorry to all the guys.”

Asked if there were any positives from the day, he said he was pleased with his aggressive performance.

“I mean, the positives are we were in that position on merit,” he said.

“I managed to jump [Esteban] Ocon, and pulled away from him.

“In the early phase of the race, I was at the same pace as McLarens ahead of me. The car was alive this weekend, and it was really, really fast.

“It will come I think; we’re understanding it better and better, week-in, week-out.

“My first laps have been poor, and I made probably quite a bold, aggressive move on Sebastian [Vettel] in the first corner, which is something we’ve been wanting to work on.

“I feel like maybe sometimes I’ve been a bit too conservative in the races and I definitely found the limit today.”



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