Mercedes provide update after George Russell’s last lap radio message caused concern

Although George Russell finished sixth in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, he reported an issue to Mercedes on the last lap and was extremely worried that his entire race was falling apart.

After the British driver expressed his concerns during the last lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Mercedes has allayed worries about a potential issue with George Russell’s vehicle.

Three positions ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, Russell was running in sixth at the time and finished there. However, in those last few seconds of the race, he was concerned that he might not be able to continue.

He sensed something was wrong with his car and reported a puncture over the radio. Despite this, he managed to hold off debutant Oliver Bearman, who was a few seconds behind him in his Ferrari, and finish sixth.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin provided an explanation of what transpired on that last lap in a video that the team uploaded. “As you may have heard, Russell came on the radio and said, ‘Front right puncture,'” he stated. That’s why he was worried that he [had one].

What he was experiencing at the moment was an abrupt vibration. He was worried that the tire was going to burst because it was losing air. However, all we have to do is glance at our data to see that, in that regard, the tire was fine. All four tires’ pressure is visible in real time. Therefore, a puncture would typically be noticed by us before the driver does.

“We would definitely notify the driver before the puncture if it was comparatively slow. We reassured him that it was acceptable. He reported feeling a vibration even now. We looked at the vibration level and found that it wasn’t alarming, although we could see some irregularities.

“Obviously one of the most important things is that we were able to verify that the brakes are in good working order. We returned and said, “Well, the car appears to be in good condition.” Just to let him know he doesn’t need to push, we told him the distance to the car behind. He can actually slow down for the rest of the lap because there is no one else in the next four seconds.”

For the team, a damaged tire is obviously not a long-term problem; a problem with the car itself would have been more worrisome. Mercedes will have to wait to learn if there was a problem with the tire, Shovlin continued.

Thankfully, their investigation has not revealed any additional issues with the vehicle. “We checked everything when we got the car back,” he continued. Everything appears to be in order. We are unable to check the tire at this time because it is owned by Pirelli. Thus, it has been removed for examination. However, from what I can see, everything appears to be in order.

There was vibration data, but it could be as little as a small amount of rubber getting stuck on a tire, which could throw the vehicle completely off balance. Thus, we will permit Pirelli to conduct their research. However, from our perspective and from the perspective of the vehicle, nothing appears to be wrong.”

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