George Russell says his crash at Australian Grand Prix was 'a disaster waiting to happen'

SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Mercedes driver George Russell spoke Thursday for the first time since his dramatic crash with Fernando Alonso at the Australian Grand Prix last month, and said race officials must respond quickly to similar incidents to avoid disaster.

Alonso was given a 20-second penalty for what officials called his „unusual manoeuvre” by keeping Russell behind. His description of the action includes braking and driving slowly, which could be disruptive to other drivers.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix, Russell said he saw Alonso in a coffee shop a few days later. Australian race.

„We're both moving on from this,” Russell said.

Asked if he had spoken to Alonso about the incident at the coffee shop, he replied. „No, we didn't. He didn't get my coffee.

Despite that jovial tone, Russell described his fear after the crash and the fact that the cars were traveling at 250 km/h, or 155 mph.

„It was an unbelievable situation.” Turn no. Russell said of the accident at 6. „You're on a blind bend – 250 kilometers per hour, the car is half upside down on the racetrack. You're waiting for a disaster to happen.

“Luckily I had a 10 second gap behind me. I think it was 10 or 12 seconds before the safety car came out. But five, six cars, seven cars in 10 seconds — if it's lap one in the race — could have been hit multiple times, even by a yellow flag.

Russell called for faster response times and the use of technology to make it happen.

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„If a car is in a danger zone, I think we need to find a way to make it run automatically – within half a second or so straight away those seconds are counted and lives are at risk. I think it's time with technology, and now we need to take action in this area.”

Drivers have the right to brake, downshift or accelerate to get the correct „race line,” Russell said. But he suggested limits.

„When we start braking in the middle of the straight, landing, accelerating, re-accelerating, then braking again – I think it's beyond the scope of adjusting your line,” Russell said, calling it „a step too much.”

„I don't think what Fernando did was very dangerous, but it opens a can of worms if it goes unpunished.”

Formula 1: https://apnews.com/hub/formula-one

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