George Russell has history of stopping car on track to help rival as new tale surfaces
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George Russell was widely praised for stopping to try and help Zhou Guanyu after their horror crash at the British Grand Prix. Now, former Formula 2 runner-up, Callum Illot, has shared a new story that shows the Mercedes driver has a history of acting in this way.
The 24-year-old was involved in a terrifying stunt with the Alfa Romeo driver after being caught by Pierre Gasly. The Briton spun into the Chinese driver causing his car to overturn a slide off the track upside down at a terrifying speed. He then ended up flipping over the tyre barrier after going through the gravel trap and got stuck in the small gap between the boundary and the catch fencing.
Russell suffered a puncture in the collision and quickly stopped his car on track after the incident. He then proceeded to sprint across the track to Zhou’s trapped car in order to see if he could help in any way. The show of immense sportsmanship was praised by those inside and outside the sport.
Now, the four-time podium sitter’s former karting rival Illot has confirmed that the British driver has always looked to act this way. Responding to a Twitter video showcasing Russell’s reaction, the Indycar driver wrote: “The first time I flipped a go kart, @GeorgeRussell63 stopped on track to lift it off of me. He’s always been a good egg since day 1, great role model for anyone.”
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The heartwarming story characterises the maturity that has always belied the British driver’s relatively young age. In 2021, he became the youngest driver ever to become a director at the Grand Prix Drivers Association, working alongside the vastly experienced Sebastian Vettel to champion better safety for racers. He was nominated by his peers showing the faith they have in his conduct.
Russell’s actions at the British Grand Prix did came at considerable cost to himself, as he was unable to continue in the race. Silverstone marshals lifted his W13 onto a low loader despite the Mercedes driver asking them to leave it on track so he could attempt to drive it back to the pits after helping Zhou.
Once a driver has received mechanical assistance they are not allowed to race in the Grand Prix again and hence the Briton instantly received a DNF. It was the first time all season that he had finished outside the top five.
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Russell will hope for more success in Austria this weekend as he looks to get his season back on track. His Mercedes now looks as if it is over the worst of its porpoising issues which should help him improve throughout the rest of the season, something that will be popular with the sport’s fans given his selfless actions in trying to help Zhou.
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