Russell, who started in the fourth position, initially went head-to-head with Fernando Alonso who had a slow start, aiming for third place. However, he ultimately settled into his starting position. The drama began on lap 12 of 70, when Russell went off-course at the Turns 8-9 chicane and hit the inside kerb.
The impact sent him off track, causing him to crash into the exit wall, which resulted in damage to both his front wing and the rear-right wheel.
Despite the mishap, Russell managed to get the W14 back to the pits for repairs. He was able to rejoin the race, eventually fighting his way up to eighth place. He described his car as being “a bit bent but it’s OK.”
However, due to excessive brake wear, Mercedes directed him to retire from the race on lap 53.
The initial assumption was that his retirement was a direct consequence of the collision with the wall, which may have damaged the brake cooling ducts, leading to a temperature surge. However, Russell believes the actual reason was that his car was not properly equipped to handle the turbulence caused by running in the wake of other cars.
On reflecting on his initial error, Russell admitted: “I went a bit wide into Turn 8. I knew I was going to hit the kerb, but I wasn’t prepared for such a violent response from the sausage kerb.
“Next thing I know, I’m airborne. When I landed, I lost control of the rear and crashed into the wall. It happened so quickly.”
Russell also expressed that he believed his race was immediately over at this point and accepted the consequences of his error, stating that F1 should ‘punish’ its drivers for their mistakes.
He continued: “To be honest, I assumed it was over. I was surprised we managed to continue. Coming close to giving up… it’s a tough pill to swallow. But this is how the sport should be. One minor mistake and you should pay for it.”
Regarding his eventual withdrawal from the race, Russell said: “After pitting, the car didn’t feel 100% right but was drivable. I believe the rear toe was slightly off.
“We could have finished in P8, but heavy traffic and unexpected pre-race positions likely put the brakes in a wrong position.”
When asked to confirm whether he believed the brake failure was largely unrelated to the crash, Russell said: “I need to discuss it with the team, but I’m fairly certain it was due to the heavy traffic we encountered.
“We hadn’t anticipated being in that situation, and the brakes were not positioned correctly for it.
“When it was too late, everything happened quickly. With brakes, once you cross a certain oxidation threshold, there’s no coming back.
“No matter how gently you treat them, their degradation continues at a pace you can’t reverse.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Canadian GP Retirement
Why did Russell retire from the F1 Canadian GP?
Russell retired due to excessive brake wear on lap 53. It was initially thought that his retirement was directly related to a collision with a wall that could have damaged the brake cooling ducts, causing temperatures to spike. However, Russell suspects that the real reason was his car’s inability to handle the aerodynamic turbulence generated by following other cars closely.
What happened to Russell’s car during the race?
On lap 12 of 70, Russell ran off-course at the Turns 8-9 chicane, hitting the inside kerb which caused him to crash into the exit wall. This resulted in damage to his front wing and the rear-right wheel of his car.
Did Russell manage to continue the race after the crash?
Yes, after the crash, Russell managed to drive the W14 back to the pits for repairs and he resumed the race, eventually climbing up to eighth place.
What does Russell believe about errors and punishments in F1?
Russell believes that F1 should ‘punish’ its drivers for their mistakes. He implies that the sport should have high stakes, where even a small error can have significant consequences.
What does Russell think was the cause of the brake failure?
Russell believes that the brake failure was primarily due to the car being in heavy traffic, which it was not set up to handle. He said that once the brakes go over a certain oxidation threshold due to the excessive heat generated, it’s impossible to recover them.