How Hamilton-Bottas Baku battle panicked Russell

George Russell’s tumultuous Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend ended on a troublesome note as the Mercedes junior driver had to avoid the Silver Arrows of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton as they battled for the victory in the final few laps.

Russell ultimately towed Bottas down the main straight to aid his victory in Baku, with Hamilton seeing a late charge on his team-mate fall short.

The Williams driver was at the time struggling to switch soft tyres on and admitted that the sight of his senior colleagues in his mirrors raised the pulse.

“I was aware they were racing,” he said. “I had put on the soft tyres at the end and just couldn’t get them working so I felt like I was driving on ice.

“And I was like ‘Bloody hell, I hope I don’t get in the way here or do anything stupid!’ – especially being Mercedes and everything.

Mercedes happy to let Hamilton, Bottas race in BakuRead more

“They flew by and before I knew it I couldn’t see them anymore, but good TV time!”

Russell had a week to forget as illness saw him skip media commitments on Thursday before his Friday was ruined by a loose drain cover which demolished his FW42.

“It was as good as could be really,” said Russell of his 15th-place finish ahead of team-mate Robert Kubica.

“We knew coming into this weekend that it would probably be the hardest weekend of the year for us.

“Put that on top of myself being really ill since the start of last week, and then Friday with the manhole cover ruining the whole of Friday and the guys having to work all day and through the night to get the car fixed, I was quite relieved for the weekend to be over.”