Six times world champion Lewis Hamilton led Formula One drivers past and present in consoling George Russell after a costly error in Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Williams driver had been heading for a long-awaited first top 10 finish when he speared off the track at Imola and into the barrier while trying to get heat into his tyres as he followed the safety car.
The 22-year-old Briton crouched down on the grass, his unhappiness obvious.
“I’ll never forget this day, this mistake,” the Mercedes-backed driver posted on Instagram. “I’ll learn from it, be stronger for it. I’m so sorry, to the whole team. No excuses.”
Mercedes’ race winner Hamilton did his best to ease the pain.
“George, you were giving it your all. It’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to feel the pain,” he replied. “I’ve made more than I can remember. You’re great bud. Keep your head up and keep pushing, on to the next one.”
David Coulthard, the former racer who made his F1 debut with Williams in 1994 after Brazilian Ayrton Senna died at Imola, said it was a “small blip in a long career ahead of you in F1.”
Australian Mark Webber, another former Williams driver, agreed it was a ‘brutal’ feeling but assured Russell he would, be better for it. “All part of the polishing and continuing to lift the bar,” he wrote.
Haas driver Romain Grosjean, who had a reputation for crashing and was once dubbed a ‘first lap nutcase’ by Webber, also commiserated.
“Man, I know the feeling. Will take some time to forget it, but what you do is mega. Keep pushing,” wrote the Frenchman.
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