George Russell says ‘it feels great’ after Spielberg success

George Russell told Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to “just let me f****** drive” on his way to claiming only the second win of his career in Austria on Sunday.

Russell was third, 15 seconds behind Max Verstappen, when the Dutchman collided with Lando Norris on lap 64 of 71 on Red Bull’s home turf in Spielberg.

The dramatic coming together allowed Russell to assume the lead to provoke team principal Wolff – sensing Mercedes’ first win since Russell took his maiden victory in Brazil 595 days ago – to shout over the radio: “George you can win this. You can win this, George.” But an agitated Russell replied: “Just let me f****** drive.”

Speaking after the race, a jovial Russell, 26, said: “I almost crashed when I had Toto screaming into my ears.

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

Wolff said: “This is the single dumbest thing I’ve done in 12 years at Mercedes.

“I will be forever ashamed because you look at where you speak to the driver and you don’t do it when they are braking or in high-speed corners! But I didn’t look at the GPS. I just emotionally pressed the button and said ‘we can win this’.

“I could have taken him out with that message. Imagine how that would have felt. I was just carried away with the situation, but seriously, embarrassing.”

Toto Wolff said he was
Toto Wolff said he was “embarrassed” by his radio message to George Russell (David Davies/PA)

Russell crossed the line two seconds ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri with Carlos Sainz third for Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton, hit with a five-second penalty for crossing the white line when he entered the pit lane for his first tyre change, finished fourth.

Russell vowed to celebrate with long-term Spanish girlfriend Carmen Montero Mundt in Monaco on Sunday evening.

“I am flying back tonight and I have got my girlfriend waiting for me back at home and one of my good friends is there, too,” said Russell.

“After my first victory I headed straight on to a flight from Sao Paulo to Dubai for 15 hours. I want to celebrate this time because you cannot take these moments for granted.

“I feel I have a lot left in me and a lot more victories to come in the future but you need to enjoy it. I won’t go as hard as Lando (Norris) did (after his win in Miami). If it is 50 per cent as hard as Lando’s celebrations it will be a pretty massive night.”