“Totally didn’t see him in the blind spot, wasn’t expecting the overtake,” Russell clarified. “I wasn’t even really fighting him because we knew that Max wasn’t our race. We just had to keep the tyres alive.
The ensuing debris ensured that the Safety Car was deployed, which Russell contends hampered his race as he would have been able to continue without pitting otherwise.
“There was the only piece of damage was the wheel cover which if anything probably would have helped the graining by having that extra bit of cooling,” he explained.
“So, if it wasn’t for the Safety Car we’d have continued and would have gone on onto the podium. So I don’t really know what to say, really, just, just really frustrated with, with today, with this, this season as a whole. Yeah, I can’t really catch a break.”
Following the application of his penalty, Russell ended up only one place behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who suffered a puncture from a touch with Oscar Piastri.
With Charles Leclerc finishing second and Carlos Sainz also ahead of both Mercedes cars, Ferrari reduced the German marque’s advantage in the standings to four points.
“It was a comfortable podium just thrown away once again,” Russell lamented. “So it’s in this season it’s really disappointing and frustrating. And now heading into Abu Dhabi, only a few points between us and Ferrari.”
Russell insists that Mercedes’ initial pace on the Hard tyre was promising, but admits his progress was delayed by getting stuck behind the slippery Williams of Alex Albon.
“I think Charles looked really fast out there. He was managing the tyres a lot in that middle on the medium stint and managed to extend a lot; that was quite impressive,” Russell noted.
“But on the Hard tyre, I felt pretty competitive just that we all got stuck behind Alex for quite a long time. We know they’ve got good straight-line speed and it was difficult to overtake.”
The Briton remains with only one podium finish to his name this year amid a campaign that he previously referred to as being full of “missed opportunities” only last month.
“When the car’s quick, luck always seems to be on your side and when the car’s not, you never seem to have long,” he discussed. “And ultimately the pace isn’t quick enough, a number of these issues have come from not just truly, not been fast enough. So, yeah, not a lot more to say really.”
But Russell was more upbeat about the inaugural race weekend at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit, citing that the track provided a bigger challenge than he had expected.
Asked if he had enjoyed the event overall despite his troubles, Russell replied: “Yeah, I have to be honest, it’s, it’s been quite surreal being here and, and seeing everything that that’s going on, the track, it was actually a lot better to drive than I anticipated.
“It looks pretty, it looks pretty basic from the track map, but it’s actually got quite a lot of character, really challenging circuit to drive.
“But with the nature of the low downforce circuit, the slipstreaming really isn’t that substantial. I don’t know how many overtakes there were in the race, but it wasn’t straightforward to pass.”