George Russell crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix on the final lap of the race, throwing away a podium finish and handing third place to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
The British driver had taken a gamble alongside his team-mate when the virtual safety car came out on lap 43 after Esteban Ocon’s Alpine stopped on the exit of the pit lane.
Russell and Hamilton both pitted for medium compound tyres with the lead Mercedes emerging from the pit lane 14 seconds behind Charles Leclerc in third place but with much, much fresher rubber underneath him.
Over the course of the remaining 19 laps, Russell reeled in the front three, taking seconds out of Carlos Sainz’s lead with every passing tour around the Marina Bay street circuit.
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The man from King’s Lynn closed up to the back of Leclerc on lap 53, forcing the Monegasque driver to defend into turn 14 before cutting back and sealing the move on the approach to turn 16.
With just four laps remaining, Russell had cut the gap to Norris to within a second, but with Sainz giving his fellow Brit DRS in a genius strategic move, the Mercedes man’s tyres began to overheat.
As Sainz led the front four Russell looked like he would be forced to settle for a podium finish, but with half a lap remaining he clipped the wall on the right side of the approach to turn ten, sending him flying into the barriers and out of the race.
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That incident promoted team-mate Hamilton onto the podium with the seven-time world champion now moving ahead of Fernando Alonso in their Drivers’ Championship battle.
Speaking about his race and Russell’s last-lap incident, Hamilton said: “I felt it was a two-stop but I think the team did an amazing job to get us back up there. It was a real shame the first corner but I kept my head down and kept pushing.
“Extremely unfortunate for George, we were pushing so hard to catch these guys and our tyres were so hot. But I know he will bounce back. He’s been phenomenal all weekend.”
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