Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff slammed the early “subpar” strategy calls that cost the side a podium finish in the Dutch Grand Prix.
Both Russell, who lined up third, and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were sent tumbling down the order in the opening laps when Mercedes misjudged the weather conditions.
An early rain shower witnessed several drivers head to the pits at the end of Lap 1, but the German marque waited until the third lap to pit Hamilton for Intermediate tyres and a lap longer than that for Russell.
Consequently, Hamilton and Russell ended up outside of the top 10, prompting Wolff to concede that the team committed to the “wrong” decisions at that moment.
“I think we stayed out catastrophically too long. We got it completely wrong,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“We will review thoroughly. The situation is never one person or one department. It is the communications between driver, pit wall, strategy, weather and then all of us taking decisions.
“That was absolutely subpar from all of us, and that includes me. It’s good when it hurts. When it stings, it sticks.”
Mercedes’ misery was compounded by Wolff acknowledging that Russell was on the pace of race winner Max Verstappen in the closing stages, whilst Hamilton also admitted after the race that he had the pace to match the record-equalling Dutchman in the Red Bull.
However, neither Mercedes driver ended up on the podium, with Hamilton trailing home fifth and Russell retiring after late contact with Lando Norris gave him a puncture.
“It’s annoying because the car had really [good] pace. And then, from there on it was just recovering as good as we could,” Wolff explained.
“We saw at the end on the intermediates George had Max’s pace and Lewis was very strong behind [Carlos] Sainz. We could have been much further ahead.”
But, like Russell, Wolff did take an element of encouragement from Mercedes’ pace being strong at Zandvoort, underlining that the speed of the car being competitive remains the most important thing.
“I’d rather have good pace, a fast race car and a mediocre result even if it hurts,” he highlighted.
“But it’s still bittersweet because the result is just really bad. It could have been, but that doesn’t count in our sport.”
Mercedes’ troubles allowed Aston Martin to close the gap in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship as Fernando Alonso returned the Silverstone-based squad to the podium for the first time since June.
However, the Brackley camp still retains a healthy 40-point advantage over its power unit customer with nine rounds remaining.