George Russell says he can be “proud of what we achieved” on his Mercedes debut after his chance of a shock win slipped away in the closing laps.
Russell took the lead from Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap and controlled the race until a tyre mix-up in the pit stop relegated him to fifth.
Russell re-passed Bottas, overhauled Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon, and was closing in on Sergio Perez when a left-rear puncture necessitated another pit stop.
Russell eventually came home ninth but remains under investigation for the mistake made by Mercedes, which led to the Briton running a set of Bottas’ tyres for a lap.
“I can’t really put it into words, jumping out of the car wasn’t a nice feeling,” he said.
“I’ve had races where I had victories taken away from me but twice… I couldn’t believe it. I gave it everything I had.
“I was managing, I felt comfortable, confident in the opening laps, we had the muddle up, that put us into the back foot, we could have caught Sergio, had such a tyre advantage, the car was so quick.
“I’m gutted, but proud of what we achieved, and happy to have the opportunity.
“That’s racing, it’s a team sport, we’re all in it together, sometimes a driver messes it up, I have once or twice this year for Williams, we learn from these things.”
Russell was quick to praise eventual race winner Perez for his display.
“I want to say well done to Sergio, he’s a great driver,” he said.
“He’s been in Formula 1 a huge amount of time, he deserved a victory – maybe not the one from today! – but he deserves to have a victory. I’m happy he’s got that chance.”